The days are moving right along. Summer is almost over and although I love the hot weather, I love autumn more! This will be my first holiday season sans alcohol, however. I am already starting to feel anxious about it, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.
This weekend I am traveling again! I am off to a wedding in the country and while I am 90% thrilled about all of it, I am 10% wary about attending my first sober wedding. I will also be solo. The booze hound inside of me is trying to reason that it will be the perfect opportunity to say. “SCREW SOBRIETY! You have been doing this for MORE THAN 100 DAYS and you said it was only going to be 100 Days, so WTF?”
Seriously, lately, I’ve been listening too eagerly to that voice. I keep trying to remind myself of why I quit drinking in the first place. It’s rough because I feel fantastic about how far I’ve come, but it’s not been that long.
Back in March, I attended the wedding reception of one of my best friends. She’d gotten married in a small ceremony across the country and a few months later hosted a reception in her hometown for everyone to attend. I hadn’t seen her in 3 months and was super excited to celebrate!
The night before her reception I stayed out drinking at a friends house. It started with happy hour, and became an all night affair. Drink and after drink after drink. I remember precious little of that evening with the exception of embarrassingly over-sharing with a complete stranger. I’m not even sure how I got home.
The next morning, my husband and I attended a house-warming brunch. I looked like hell frozen over. We stopped at the store to get champagne (I’m certain I dry-heaved just looking at the bottle) and orange juice. I also got a bottle of sparkling water. We arrived at the house-warming and were promptly offered mimosas, to which I declined. We got the grand tour and ended on the rooftop deck where I sipped my water and nibbled on some rice crackers and tried really hard to be social. It took about 15 minutes of sipping and nibbling before I realized that my stomach was not capable of handling anything. I excused myself, made my way to their pristine master bath, and promptly threw up in there bright white porcelain toilet. The entire time, all I was thinking was, “I bet I’m the first person to ever puke in this toilet.”
That happened twice more before leaving.
My husband thought I was just ill. I let him think that. I’m not sure how he didn’t connect the night before (as he was there) to the current day. He insisted that I nap before we left for the reception, certain that I’d feel better.
I only had time to nap for about 20 minutes before our friend arrived to carpool with us to the reception. Normally, I pride myself in outfit choices. I love bright colors, and prints and 9 times out of 10 will wear a dress. It was a wedding reception and for some reason I dressed entirely in black and grey! A reflection of myself at that moment in time, I guess.
We had to stop at the grocery store beforehand because we needed to bring beverages. The entire car ride to the store, I was nauseous. I stuck my head out the window like a dog and gulped each breath. When we finally parked, I jumped out of the car, hoping the nausea had passed. It hadn’t. Then we got in the elevator.
The upward momentum of the elevator was too much. I clasped my hands over my mouth and like a trapped, wild animal stared at my husband. I weighed my options: corner of the elevator, down my dress, in my hands? At last the elevator lurched to a stop and the doors, moving like glaciers, pulled open. I darted from the confines of the elevator, thinking we’d be outside the store, but we were in a lobby. There was a giant plant to my left, but I ran for the door and the sunshine and hopefully somewhere remotely private. I made it outside, but that was it. I threw up all over the sidewalk in front of a yoga studio, twice.
I felt embarrassed. I felt stupid. I felt angry. I cried and wished I could go back home, but I knew that I couldn’t. I needed to be at that reception, and I had been looking forward to it until I’d drank too much the night before and ruined everything.
My husband and my friend were too nice. I was so ashamed. We made our way into the store, got what we needed and headed to the reception. I drank water and club soda, nibbled on crackers and eventually felt better. I volunteered to be the designated driver and watched my husband and friend drink normally.
18 days later I had my last drink – well, 8 drinks.
When I get into the nitty-gritty and force myself to remember those moments, I am reminded of why it doesn’t matter if I’m nervous to be sober and solo at a wedding. I can handle the nerves. I can’t handle the alcohol, or the regret, or the shame and sadness that always follows. Weddings are for celebrating, and that is what I intend to do.