Memorial Day weekend always brought back memories of the good old days, the days I could no longer fully enjoy. Between the barbeques and bonfires, fireworks and pool parties, there was booze everywhere. I tried not attending any of these events, but then I felt left out and lonely. I tried going and abstaining, but I still felt left out and lonely.
I resented every minute of it.
TAKING OFF THE ROSE-COLORED GLASSES
I was over at my sister’s house lounging with her by the pool one Saturday afternoon when the subject of the 4th of July came up. She was hosting the annual family reunion/barbeque, pool party. Just the thought of it made me want to puke, and I told her so.
“So,” she asked, “what are you saying? You can’t enjoy our company without getting smashed?”
“Why can’t you hang out together without drinking? It’s really the same thing, you know”, I shot back.
“No, it’s not the same thing. We can handle our liquor.”
“Yeah, I remember how well Derrick handled it last year when he threw up in your calla lillies.”
Okay, so maybe the old days weren’t that great. But how was I going to make the rest of my days better?
I called my sponsor, told her how I was struggling, and she gave me what seemed like an odd assignment at the time. She told me to remember all the bad times. And not just remember them, but to write them down. She told me to document every single bad experience I had while I was drinking that I could remember.
The paper filled up quickly, however, and as I read back over it, I began to understand the object of the lesson. I didn’t want a repeat performance of any of these incidents:
- License suspensions
- Getting fired
- Being mugged
- Vomiting on my date
- Getting in fights
- Losing my car
REMEMBERING THE BENEFITS
In addition to no longer going through all of the above, staying sober also affords me the opportunity to:
- Truly enjoy time spent with loved ones
- Create wonderful memories
- Have enough energy to participate in more fun activities
- Learn healthy coping skills
- Save money
- Have no regrets
HOW TO STAY SOBER WHILE BEING SOCIAL
I had to accept the fact that the world is not going to stop turning every summer just to make things easier for me, nor should I feel like I should hide away. I came to understand that the key to staying sober is to develop those healthy coping skills, such as:
- Socialize in metered doses –I don’t have to show up for every gathering, nor do I have to stay for the duration. When I find myself craving a drink, I thank my host and say goodbye.
- Bring a sober friend with me –Not only does having someone sober with me make me feel less alone, it also helps keep me in check.
- Take part in all of the activities – Keeping busy keeps me sober. It’s a lot easier to man the grill, play games, or take a swim without a drink in my hand.
- Knowing how to intercept my triggers – It’s a lot easier to avoid temptation when I am prepared for it. When I see danger approaching, I already have a plan of action.
As I continue to grow in my determination to stay sober, I am able to enjoy summer again. And the longer I stay sober, the more important it becomes to stay that way.
If you or your loved one needs help, contact us today and feel free to talk to us about addiction treatment programs at our affordable drug and alcohol rehab that fit your needs. The Anaheim Lighthouse is a modern and effective addiction treatment center in Southern California.