So you’re newly sober. Maybe you got there by going to AA, maybe you checked yourself into a five-star rehab clinic and did a shitload of yoga, or maybe you followed the Doomsday Prepper’s Guide to Getting Sober. Regardless of how you stopped normalizing getting shitfaced every evening and all weekend, at some point you’re going to have to start socializing again, but without alcohol. Being sober can’t just be about energy drinks and beating up snot-nosed fifteen-year-olds online on your favorite boxing video game.
Part of that socializing—even if you try your best to avoid them, like me—will involve going to a party. And in between the stealthy missions to the buffet table to grab one of the dwindling supply of caviar canapés and the appraising of everyone’s evening wear from a dark corner, you’re going to have to open your mouth and have a conversation.
It’ll only be so long before that person you’re speaking to is one of the more-than-merry partygoers. And if you speak to that drunk person long enough, it’s only a matter of time before his or her alcohol-blurred vision falls upon the glass of carbonated water in your hand, and he or she asks, mixing the words with an obnoxious mixture of spittle, “Why aren’t you drinking?”
If you happen to be in your third trimester or wearing a dog collar, this situation may be easily avoided by chuckling and pointing out the obvious. But for us non-impregnated atheists, this situation could be quite the pickle.
On one hand, you don’t want to come across as the square guy or gal at the party by telling people you don’t drink, and in the mind the of that drunk partygoer become someone who “doesn’t like the taste of alcohol,” “never knew why it’s necessary to drink alcohol to have fun,” or “never touched a drop” in his or her life.
But on the other hand, you feel self-conscious about labeling yourself as an alcoholic. To do so might raise suspicions in the drunk partygoer that you wandered in off the street, knocked out one of the guests, stole his dinner suit, and hid him in the utility room, so you could avoid another damp night sitting on the sidewalk.
What do I plan on doing when this situation arises? I’ll tell you what I won’t do: go to that party wearing a dinner suit two sizes too small. But seriously, I’d say, with an air of pride, that I am an alcoholic.
This is why. We sober alcoholics are the coolest motherfuckers at that party, whether or not we use the aforementioned drunk partygoer’s metric for measuring coolness. We have nothing to hide or feel shameful about. Out of all the people there, we’re the hardest partiers of everyone. Had that party been set in the latter part of December of 1999, we would have been swinging from a chandelier, a glass of champagne in our hands, singing a God-awful rendition of ‘9 to 5.’ And it would’ve been freakin’ hilarious.
But we’re above that behavior now. We ruined drinking for ourselves by overdoing it, and now we see the error of our ways, which is way cooler than conforming to some social norm, despite its detriment to our life quality. We sober alcoholics are freethinkers, who decide independently about lifestyle choices, and we’ll go home from a party without having made drunken requests for bad songs, gotten into a passive-aggressive argument, or outright punched the host square in the face.
Congratulations, Sober Alcoholic. You’re one cool motherfucker. And when you feel ready to start socializing again without alcohol, and you find yourself at a party, hold your head high and jump in and swim with the same confidence it took to quit drinking. You’re the veteran at the party who now has all his faculties. And between being that and being the partygoer who stares into his cup of joe the morning after, remembering all the dumb stuff he did, I know which one I choose.
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Stay sober and happy, you cool cat you.
Days sober: 48
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