Sunday, February 18, 2018

Week 8 - Let's have a drink

This week was pretty uneventful in terms on drinking. My daughter came to visit which kept me pretty busy but also is a great motivator to not drink. She is 23 and does not drink. She also doesn't like it when I do only because I have been pretty open with her in the last few years with my struggle in an attempt to help her not go down the same path.  I was in such a different place than her in terms of drinking at age 23.  I am so happy for her that she chooses not to drink.  She does once or twice a year, but she is a binge drinker like me (might as well make it worth it) and then pays a heavy price the next morning. She just doesn't put in her body often enough (unlike me - every weekend when I was her age and for 25+ plus years after) that she hasn't gotten addicted, her tolerance hasn't been affected, she hasn't learned to cope with every social situation by drinking, it hasn't become a habit.  I hope I helped her have some insight in this area about how addictive it can be mentally and how easily it is to fall into the pattern of drinking all the time which for me eventually led to obsession, depression and addiction.

As you know, I will be teaching at a new school next year - moving from elementary to middle school as all of our 6th grades are moving up. I have been at my current school 17 years.  This will be a huge change for me. In the past, when starting at a new school, my default has been to make sure I socialize by going out to the Friday social events and drinking.  I am realizing about myself, that I have always either tried to hang out with the cool "kids" or be the cool "kid". The way I did this was by drinking. I really am pretty fun when drinking and I was always willing to drink as long as someone else did.  I never bailed out early. This is how I felt like I gained my popularity and acceptance. Being able to talk about the funny things that happened the previous Friday night felt like I was in an exclusive cool group that had so much fun. Being able to talk about the brewery I went to over the weekend or even calling myself an "IPA girl" made me feel pretty cool.  Why is that? Why has alcohol been my way to socially connect with people? Even to the point that I never went out of my way to talk to people that I knew didn't drink. Kinda snobby on my part but I guess I just didn't feel like I had anything in common with them - and they weren't the cool "kids".

Well...I am fifty now and it might be time for me to grow up :).  Being the drunk 50 year old at work parties is not "cool" anymore. It's kind of pathetic. I remember being in my 20s and 30s and watching the 50+ year old at parties.  I thought they were kind of alright because they drank but certainly didn't think they were cool.  Man..I have been a judgmental snot in my past. I am a little nervous about the pull of using alcohol to help me "break the ice" and form connections with all these new people. Alcohol has always been my "accommodation" as we say in elementary school to overcome my "disability" of social anxiety and my ridiculous obsession with being liked. Accommodations are used with students to "even the playing field" for them in the learning environment. My accommodation has always been alcohol. It "levels my playing field" in the social environment.

I have to figure out a different way this time. My teammate, who is going to the same school, said on Friday....."Well, they better buy me a drink at the end of this year as I have been at this school a long time." What am I going to do in that situation. I have so many friends at my current school. So many people I have had so much fun drinking with. I know they will all want to go out and buy me drinks at the end of the year. I need a plan.....

We also got an email from the our new school talking about a Friday in March that the principal wants us to go over there to meet everyone and "go out for a drink" afterwards. I need a plan....

I do have a couple of challenges coming up. I don't want to drink, but I also can't skip out on these commitments. I need a plan....


  1. The plan could be responding I don’t drink, but I’d love to get together for coffee.

    The plan could be I don’t drink anymore but I’ll stop in for a few minutes.

    The plan is to say I’m sorry, I have another commitment and cannot come out after. But I can’t wait to meet you all.

    You are in charge of your time. People respect that of you are clear.

    Whatever works for you. Just don’t plan to drink. It will all be ok.

  2. Thanks, Anne. My plan is to go and not drink. If anyone asks I will say, "I did the whole dry January thing and liked how much better I felt so I decided to continue". No one needs to know any more than that.