If you haven’t already, please read the introduction post. That will give you context for this page.
Very early in my life, it became clear to me that I was inclined towards extremes and excesses. That I had a lot of emotional holes to fill or medicate away (depression, self-loathing, etc). That I was an all-or-nothing girl when it came to anything that I might be able to enjoy or use for escape. Thanks to friends and other social connections, I had access to any substance or vice I might have wanted from about age 13. I spent a lot of time trying not to make choices that would have been bad for me. Fortunately, these days, my main substance issue appears to be food. Which, as per previous posts, I’ve mostly got under control. However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to get cocky or take a chance at all.
Especially now that I’ve watched many a bright, capable, disciplined person fall off the wagon over and over. I’ve watched lives destroyed. Sometimes ended. I don’t want that. And I feel like I have a responsibility to use my talents, which would definitely be impaired by making a ruin of my life. I like myself and respect my talents too much.
Please note that both those paragraphs are about me. They’re a reminder to myself about myself. If you see yourself there, that’s not on purpose. No judgements or whatever.
Sobriety is a weird thing to be shamed or treated poorly over. Especially when…
I don’t shame or avoid people who aren’t sober. I’ve hung out in bars and at parties with friends who are very not-sober. And I’ve willingly been the sober driver every time. I’ve had friends who were addicted to all sorts of things whilst we were friends (which is to say that I didn’t cut them out of my life, though there were some cases where I had to have limits…like only hanging out in their sober moments or in public, depending on the situation). I’ve spent my birthday (which is in early January) walking over a kilometre in the rain, dressed for dancing and not for weather, in the wee hours of the morning because a friend’s girlfriend (who had been pretty horrible to me) needed to be safely taken home and I was the sober one. And I did that without complaining. I’m not even complaining now.
I’m a cheap date/celebratory dinner. (Drinks are expensive.) But you can also suggest we go out for drinks, cos I can have soda or cheap happy hour food. I’m not wearing beer goggles when you need a second opinion about that person you’ve been hitting on all night. And I’m enough not-boring sober that plenty of people have been surprised (at bars and parties) to discover that I was sober. “But you’re not boring!” You are correct; I’m not.
Of course, the downside to that last one is that the stuff we were laughing at the night before when you were drunk or high? I was sober then…so it’s still funny to me in the morning and you no longer agree. I guess this is where I refer you to how I’m not ashamed of being silly…
So, I cost less and I can be counted on to be a voluntary sober driver and I’m not the stereotypical boring sober person and I’m not being judge-y at you when you aren’t sober. But, apparently, I should feel bad about being sober.
People have told me that they won’t date me because they can’t share drinks with me. (I’d like to believe that those people were just grasping for excuses to not date me and felt like the truth was too hard.)
Order a non-alcoholic beverage or not share the joint everyone’s smoking? Proof that I’m not cool or mature. (Look, I’ll totally admit that I don’t act like a total grown up, but you have stronger proofs against my maturity than the fact that I won’t drink or get high.)
And then there’s just the general sneering that isn’t explained when I say, “No thanks,” to a drink or a drug. I admit that I might get a bit judgemental over people who do that. Because that feels very secondary school peer pressure to me. Anyway…
I totally get why people drink and use drugs, whether recreationally or in addiction-related ways. But I don’t get why there should be any shame in me not doing that. (I know, I know…what sort of a rockstar am I?) The only thing my sobriety has ever negatively impacted was a server’s tip (cos no drinks means smaller bill…and I tip well, but not well enough to cover all the money I didn’t spend on drinks…sorry).
So, I’m sorry that you won’t be making as much off me, servers. And, sure, on rough days falling into a bottle or getting off my face sounds tempting. But I’m not changing this one. I’m very much not ashamed of being sober. Not in the slightest.
Cross-posted to the Not Ashamed section of my site (so that it’s all tidy).