The Drinking Game

I was writing to a friend about my moratorium on drinking and how it is going, and thought I would share some of the same thoughts with you. My friend noted that alcohol was robbing him of time, and that is the one thing we cannot replace….and he is spot on. I had never thought of it that way, but I agree completely.

I loved how drinking made me feel. It opened me up, made me more social. It allowed me to be someone else, someone more outgoing than the real me. I don’t tend to share my true feelings with many people people…sure, I will tell you what I am thinking EXACTLY when I am thinking it – as long as it doesn’t reveal anything about me. I only discuss things that are not too close to the heart. There are very few people that I allow to know the real me.

Alcohol allowed me to turn off my inner filter and just flow with whatever what happening at the time. I was able to just talk and not audit every word I said or everything I did. And I really, really miss that. Something serious and burning on my mind that I wasn’t sure I should bring up? Just have a few drinks, and out it would spill. Something bothering me at home? Open a bottle of wine with Todd and talk through it. It was the cure-all when it came to opening up and dealing with issues.

I also felt like it made people like me. If I could drink I could be “one of the guys” and fit in with all of the men I worked with. People enjoyed hanging out with me, because I was fun… I miss that. I miss it a lot.

And then there are the things I don’t miss. I don’t miss looking like an idiot at business functions, flirting, telling stupid jokes, laughing too much or too loud. I don’t miss wondering the next morning exactly what I said the night before to people I was now going to have to face sober. I don’t miss regretting being too open with someone. I don’t miss the hangovers, and thus the complete lack of productivity that followed.

When I was on a recent business trip, I was witness to some of the people I work with drinking quite a bit. They were not doing anything out of the ordinary, but I wasn’t drinking with them, so it seemed different to me. We were with our customer, and therefore should have been on our best behavior, yet I was witness to an obscene amount of flirting, and drunk people trying to talk business, and it was a little disenchanting. I was also pretty surprised to think that I had been one of those people a mere 6 months ago.

I had to force myself to talk to people, to spend time with the rest of the people, when all I really wanted to do was go back to my room, get my work done, and go to bed. It was a lot of work to engage in the social banter and pretend to fit in. It was like being in high school again and knowing you don’t really fit in, and yet you keep trying. It was basically a lot of work.

It was a huge milestone for me though. I don’t regret not drinking now. I don’t regret not being the drunk in the group, flirting with everyone or telling jokes that lead nowhere. I don’t regret anything from that trip, except that I had to go at all.