Saturday night I felt like I was at the kids table. Everyone in our group over 21 had a glass of wine. Except me. My niece had a ginger ale and my nephew had a root beer and I had a club soda with lime.
Everyone else had a Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet or Chardonnay. They were able to pair the steak with a red, the fish with a white, etc. Club soda’s a difficult drink to pair with a meal because it’s so… plain. The waitress asked if my nephew and I would like refills. Nobody asks if they can get you a refill on the wine (at least not in a halfway decent restaurant- it’s always “Another glass?”). Nothing can puncture the idea that you’re an adult out to dinner quite like a bendy straw in your drink.
There are times when not drinking is easy for me and times when it’s really hard. Saturday night was really hard. Though nobody was doing it on purpose or with intent, I felt excluded from the adults. It wasn’t fun. And then I just wanted to leave. But it was a restaurant at the south end of the lake. We took the boat down. Everyone ordered dessert. So I got to sit there and think about how difficult it would be to excuse myself to the bathroom and order a drink at the bar and quickly toss it back (just to take the edge off, you see…). I didn’t. But I thought about it. I definitely thought about it.
When you’re an alcoholic you don’t need any help or pressure to drink, so when you feel it it’s that much harder on you. At the same time you’re the one who has the problem and you don’t want to disrupt the fun others are having. It’s such a tricky balance.
When we finally got home it was about ten, and everyone wanted to stay up and play cards. Not me. I excused myself to bed and cried myself to sleep. At the time I was ashamed at myself for wanting a drink and for thinking about sneaking away. But in the morning I didn’t have a hangover. I had another day sober. Wanting a drink isn’t necessarily something to be ashamed of, but resisting and not having one is something I can be proud of. Even if it’s not right away.