old (2007), Uncategorized

how not to stay sober

Last night, I met up for a friend’s birthday celebration at a local bar, and two of my 30-day friends were there. Of course, I felt like a dorky messenger from the program as I talked with them about having gone to 20 meetings in 22 days — including two on Wednesday — and gulped down Shirley Temples while they casually sipped cranberry and tonic. One of my friends — who makes jewelry — gave me some 12-step prayer beads, meant to be used during meditation and prayer, and they were beautiful. They have a charm on them with an inscription of the serenity prayer, and she put them in this little bag so I can carry them around with me. It’s the most meaningful gift I’ve received in a long time.

After we’d been there for a while, one of the 30-day friends ordered a non-alcoholic beer and the other followed suit. It reminded me of the meeting on Monday, where someone mentioned going into a bar and drinking a non-alcoholic beer, and the room bristled as people thought, Uh, there’s still alcohol in non-alcoholic beer… And of course I mentioned this to them, but neither really cared — it’s only 0.5%, after all (even the bartender mentioned this and laughed).

Soon after the non-alcoholic beer (and my 2nd Shirley Temple) were served, a guy sitting by us asked why we weren’t drinking for 30 days. After I quickly noted that *I* am not drinking for, well, forever, my one friend said, Because we do really stupid and embarrassing things when we drink. The guy — whom I probably should have kissed for his response — said, Well, won’t you just do more stupid and embarrassing things after the 30 days are up? I think that was another one of my god moments — this random stranger saying something I really needed to hear in a situation that could well have been gone in a completely different direction. I went home sober and grateful for the ability to walk away from a bar, knowing that nothing will change unless I make it happen.