Yesterday, was our neighborhood’s BIG 4th of July block party. I had to go, my 4 year old daughter, and my wife, were performing in the talent show. Even aside from that, I would just generally be expected to be there.
As I have blogged about, I have been in drinking situations before, during my sobriety (and some were not very comfortable) but this would be the biggest by far – my first 4th of July. In addition, these type of events are where I feel the “longing” the most. It is easy for me to know I shouldn’t drink alone, when depressed, etc. But the warm summer days, people having fun, red solo cup events have been the hardest to let go. Nothing bad usually happened, except when it did. The majority of the times it was just fun loving Lance burying his true self with shovelfuls of tequila, Sailor Jerry, and Bud Light, but the angry beast was always waiting to bring out Mr. Hyde at the slightest provocation. Even in a sober state of mind, not wanting to drink at all, these events bring out those obsessive thoughts of “I will never have fun anymore without drinking.”, “People will not like me anymore”, “I don’t belong here.”
So, as you can imagine, I approached the day with some trepidation. However, I was prepared to just roll with the day and not try to control it, leave if I had to, stay if I wanted to. The day turned out to be a milestone for me – I was comfortable in my own skin. There were a couple of AA fellows there, and I spent some time with them and talked about real stuff. One of them invited me over and we chilled at his house and talked a bit – away from the party. For the first time, I was questioned deeper by someone who didn’t know my situation:
HIM: “You look like you need a drink!”
ME: “No thanks, I am good. Not drinking.”
HIM: “Oh, taking a break for a while?”
ME: “No, I am done for good”
HIM: “Oh, good for you. You’ve just had your share?”
I was just comfortable, being at the party, being humble about my situation, connecting with people, I was not over thinking everything. I did not really realize this at the time, but I left for a couple of hours at 7:30 and attended a meeting. I spoke and it gave me a chance to reflect, it was then that I recognized the milestone. Even though I have not really had the desire or obsession to drink in my sobriety, there was always that internal tension, those thoughts of “What will my life be like?” On this 4th of July, for the first time, I truly felt that I do not have to drink anymore.