You finally did it and decided against your better nature to get sober. But obviously your life was not going so well. If you used like I did, you probably didn't have too many options left. But hey, you're still alive. Are you ready to get started with your new life. Exciting, isn't it? Not really. You're probably thinking my life is over. Well, that was your old life. No more hanging out with old using friends. No more going to those and old using hangouts. It's time to get a whole new you.
How do you do that? A new you, stone cold sober! You've never done it before. At least without something to take the edge off.
So now what? Your heart is racing. Your palms are sweaty. You've regressed to become an anxiety ridden, scared teen at his first school dance whose frozen in fear with the anticipation of being rejected. At least that what it feels like. How are you going to talk and socialize with people sober?
I remember my first sober party. It had about 90 days clean and sober. Probably a little too soon for me but at the time I was young and foolish and pumped up with my new found sobriety. Going to a party where people would be drinking was definitely not the smartest idea I've ever had, but I decided that if I started to spin out I would leave immediately. Having been getting loaded by myself for such a long time I was so nervous and self conscious about interacting with other people, especially women, which was always a problem except when I was loaded which was all the time. I had no problems talking to people at 12-step meetings but when it came to "normal" people that was a going to be a challenge, at least in my mind.
I was sober and scared but I was determined to go out and meet new people. When I got to the party my head was racing with such ridicuIousness that I actually said a little prayer in my car. G-d please give me the strength to get through this and not make a fool of myself. When I realized what I had just prayed for I laughed at myself and thought I can't believe what I just prayed for. With all the strife and suffering in the world I'm asking G-d to not get embarrassed at a party. What a knucklehead. But that's an alcoholic. Self-centered and self obsessed. Always feeling less than. Walking around with a huge ego and low self-esteem. Actually, low self-esteem would have been a step up for me.
Now that I was loaded up with courage I headed into the party. It was going full blast. I didn't recognize a soul so I immediately headed to the kitchen to get out of the line of fire and got myself a club soda with a wedge of lime. So it would look like I was drinking, just in case. Needless to say, no one noticed and no one asked. After about thirty minutes of walking around and saying hi to peopleand making small talk, something strange happened. I didn't feel uncomfortable anymore. Everyone else was doing their thing, some drinking, some not but they were all probably just as self obsessed as I was. I'm sure some people were getting high because that's what I would have been doing three months ago. But I didn't see anyone doing anything shady. But then again, I wasn't looking for it. I was busy just having a good time just talking to people, enjoying the vibe and the music, networking and getting phone numbers.
The funny thing is that after about two hours I began to notice the people who were drinking too much. Probably what I would have been doing had I not gone into rehab. This was the point at which I would have gotten stupid. But not today. It was time to leave. I had a great time and most of all I had crossed a huge hurdle. I saw for myself that I didn't have to be loaded to have a good time.
A sober support group is essential in maintaining long-term sobriety. But that doesn't mean you have to be boring or can't have any fun. A recovery home is a great place to build a support group. The bonds and friendships that are made in a recovery home can last a lifetime. You'll find that once you get sober you will want to hang out with other sober people. That's just the way it goes. You can meet tons of people at 12-step meetings. Try to find a meeting or meetings of people with similar interests. If you're a musician you might want to find a music industry meeting. If you're a lawyer you might want to hang out with other sober attorneys. There are all kinds of meetings for all kinds of people. There are sober social events even sober dating sites on the Internet. It's a whole new world in sobriety and you will find that you making new friends can be extremely fulfilling.
Most of the parties I go to today are sober parties. But I do go to restaurants, concerts and clubs, mostly to see a band or a comedian. What I have found is that most of my old friends who are "normies" actually can go out and socialize without getting blasted. I do meet a lot of people at 12-step meetings. I find that I have a lot more in common with someone in sobriety than with someone who drinks and parties. That's not to say that I don't go out with friends who drink. There are normal people in the world that can have a drink or two and don't get all bent out of shape. But I have no desire to hang out with people who drink and use alcoholically. And they have no desire to hang out with me. It's a win, win situation.
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