Fun At Social Gatherings Sober?

Fun At Social Gatherings Sober?

By Julie Elsdon-Height 09/09/14

If you’re attending events and find you’re feeling out of place, perhaps ask yourself if you’re allowing yourself to have FUN and remember you’re not under a spotlight, people aren’t focusing on whether you’re drinking or not.

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Growing up, every single social situation our family attended included alcohol. Things hadn’t changed much in my life when at the age of 36 I got sober.

Before the BIG day when I jumped off the cliff into a new life of recovery the thought of never EVER drinking again was paralyzing. Up until that point I adored being a hostess, I planned my gatherings from the food, activities down to the garnish on my extensive cocktail bar. How could I ever cope with being alienated from my entire world?

The answer didn’t come to be before I became sober, it just didn’t seem to matter anymore once I realized how very little chance I had at living at all if I continued drinking. As someone with a background in engineering, I had a healthy respect for mathematics and it didn't take a rocket scientist to work out the fact that I was on a steep slope to death and destruction.

The proverbial party was over and it had been for years, I was just the last one in my world to realize booze and I didn’t mix well. I’d gone from enjoying the glow of alcohol to depending on it to define me and losing my self-worth within the hidden bottles.

In the 12-step rooms I frequented within my first year folks told me to be gentle with myself because my mind was broken. I had NO idea who I was anymore but something within me wanted life more than I wanted to hide from the emotions I was experiencing.

Slowly I began to learn and rebuild myself but with each invitation to social gatherings, my anxiety would rise. My husband and I would sit and make a game plan; arrive early, leave early and always have an excuse to bail if things got too much for me. Before the events arrived, I’d often sucked the fun out of them and in the end I felt awkward and I’m sure I wasn’t exactly engaging as my eyes darted around the room constantly gauging how I was feeling.

After a handful of these gatherings, I got sick of it and was explaining to my husband why I didn’t want to go to another one. At this stage I must tell you that I have the most amazing husband, one who can often say a simple sentence that brings clarity to me and manages to show me the forest for the trees.

He pondered what I was saying and then asked me why I’d give up time with friends without trying something new. He pointed out that I’d been clutching bottles of water at events, feeling like I was out of place because I’d allowed myself to feel that way. At these events I wasn’t the only one choosing to be sober, nobody cared that I was sober and believe it or not it WAS possible to have a good time if I allowed myself.

HUH.

This was worthy of mulling over and discussing with my sponsor. Once again I’d been segregating myself in my own mind when in fact nobody else was. I felt renewed, I could in fact go out and have fun! FREEDOM was in that belief; of course we would keep up our safety plan of arriving early, leaving early and having an exit strategy but when I went into these parties with the right motivation suddenly a cloud was lifted from over my head.

Over the years since that day I have enjoyed my time with our friends; sure there are awkward moments but I laugh it off knowing that people often won’t get me. I’m okay with that because honestly I often find myself at a loss with others.

I also have added another dynamic to events I’m invited to by bringing my years of bartending to the table. For each event I create a Mocktail which I prepare on site and offer up to my fellow party-goers.

Usually the hostess is chuffed that I’d like to provide something and frankly it’s a heck of a way to meet people. No more elbowing out the kids at the juice table - by bringing a special non-alcoholic bevvy I ensure that I’ll have a drink I enjoy and by the time I leave I’ve usually met everyone in the room.

If you’re attending events and find you’re feeling out of place, perhaps ask yourself if you’re allowing yourself to have FUN and remember you’re not under a spotlight, people aren’t focusing on whether you’re drinking or not. But most of all, be mindful of how you’re feeling and be confident enough to leave if/when you want to.

Today allow me to leave you with one of my FAVE mocktails!

Pomegranate Mojito Mocktail Drink Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 sprig of mint
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup (equal parts boiling water and sugar, cool before using)
  • lime wedge (add in a lemon wedge if you’d like)
  • 2 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 4 ounces sparkling water

PREPARATION:

  • Muddle the quartered lime, sugar and mint leaves (if you prefer to, remove the lime skin first)
  • Place ice cubes in a high ball glass, add mixture and pour in pomegranate juice
  • Top with sparkling water and stir
  • Garnish with a mint leaf and serve

mocktail

Julie Elsdon-Height is the mother of two girls and the wife of a very patient man. After facing her alcoholism and being involved in a car accident in 2010, Julie began writing at Sober Julie, a blog jam-packed with ideas for recipes, travel articles, family fun, tips for sobriety, and tons of ideas for leading a better (more creative, more enjoyable) life.

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Julie Elsdon-Heigh.jpeg

Julie Elsdon-Height is the mother of two girls and the wife of a very patient man. After facing her alcoholism and being involved in a car accident in 2010, Julie began writing at Sober Julie, a blog jam-packed with ideas for recipes, travel articles, family fun, tips for sobriety, and tons of ideas for leading a better (more creative, more enjoyable) life. Find Julie on Linkedin.

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