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Monthly Archives: March 2012

One Year

6 + 6 = 12

The first six months were tough. The next six months flew by. I have made it through the first year of living without wine.

Last night we marked the occasion by going out to dinner with a few dear friends who have been close to me through this journey. When the server asked if anyone would like a drink before table my friends and husband all froze and glanced at me. “Uhhh….”

“Don’t be silly!” I said. “This is a celebration. Go ahead and be sure you drink a toast to me!” I turned to the waiter and ordered a non-alcoholic beer. “And could you please bring me a nice wine glass for that?”

His eyebrows flew up quizzically. “A wine glass for your beer, M’am?”

“Yes,” I answered winking, “it classes it up a bit.”

“That’s smart,” he said, more to himself than to me.

I’ve given up on virgin cocktails or listing out ingredients when ordering (“club soda with a shot of grapefruit juice and a half-ounce of grenadine”). Non-alcoholic beer is easier to order, it comes in the bottle so I don’t have to worry about accidentally getting alcohol, and if I remember to order a stem glass with it it looks and feels elegant (well, elegant enough).

The goal for me is not to approximate or replace the wine. The goal is to have something ELSE that I will enjoy for what it is.

As my friend wrote on the beautiful card she gave me (along with a scrumptious box of chocolate covered strawberries): “Now you get to have fun discovering new indulgences!”

We had a great night – lots of laughs with friends who don’t care a lick what’s in my glass. They enjoyed their cocktails but no one was out to get tanked – our purpose was to celebrate my success and encourage more of it.

At the end of the night my friend’s husband asked, “What do you think now? You made it to a year – are you going to have the odd drink here and there or just keep on having none?”

It was a sincere question, asked out of interest.  He is curious about my journey but we haven’t spoken about it together that much. His wife knows every detail but I think he understands that I am guarded around others. I took no offence to his question. I knew he was not implying that I should or could be drinking. He just wants to understand.

“No, oh no,” I chuckled. “This is a lifetime decision for me. If I ever doubt that, all I have to do is look at a bottle of wine. I want it ALL,” I laughed. “And that’s no good. This way is so much better.”

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Second (Sober) Convention

It is early morning and I am alone in a gorgeous suite at a resort in Quebec. Last night I accepted a national award on behalf of my company at a Mardi Gras-themed event – a wild party and I had plenty to celebrate.

I did celebrate, in my new way. I celebrated with the new dress I wore, and with a pair of 4″ Fleuvogs (if you don’t know what Fleuvogs are, ask your wife. If you do know what Fluevogs are, you will certainly want to know that they are Paris Platforms in black and that I also have a pair of ice blue Macciatos that are to die for). I celebrated with a glass of sparkling apple juice while I dressed for the event, and another glass to toast my success before bed.

It was an easy, happy occasion and I felt comfortable the whole night. As I said “non, merci” again and again to the server offering wine at dinner, my only discomfort was embarrassment at my lack of bilingualism. Water was fine. And it was, it really was.

It was a whirlwind of a week that brought me here, and as I was packing the night before I left, I thought back to the last convention I attended just six months earlier. “That last convention was hard. Should I be worried?” I wondered. “I don’t feel at all anxious – is that because I truly am not or because I’ve just been too busy to think about it?”

I waited a moment to see if any clouds gathered over my head.

Nope. All clear. Sunshine and metaphoric blue sky all around.

It was easy. It is easy. This morning I popped out of bed at 6 am fresh as a daisy and eager to dress for the breakfast session. Many of last night’s revellers won’t even make it there.  Of those who do, I plan to find the various folks I met last evening and stop a moment to say hello, exchange business cards, and speak briefly about the points on which we connected earlier. There is a software developer who has a product I am interested in, a pair of brothers with a similar business to my own who I am hoping will be interested in exchanging a tour of operations, and a fellow who won an award last night with a project similar to one I am working on, whose brain I need to pick. I have my work cut out for me.

It is a remarkably different experience than Sober Convention Number One six months ago.

Back then I found it much harder to get through it all. This time it has felt natural and effortless.

This is who I am now.

The self-serve bar in my suite is not calling to me at all, except for the chocolate bars (which I have resisted). It is not a problem to not drink, even thought I am alone and no one would even know.

I just don’t do that any more. This is who I am now.

It is exactly one year today since the moment I knew I needed to stop drinking. My actual anniversary is in two days, because that’s how long it took me to listen to my heart.

One year….

Those of you who said, “It gets better,” were right. I could’t image that it would but it has.

Those of you who are reading this because you are struggling through the mucky parts, please be encouraged. Take heart.

It gets better.

It gets great!

Hurrah for coffee!

My new sober adventure!

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