I just got home from a work dinner–30 people in a small, loud room. It lasted forever. I knew walking in that I wasn’t in the mood, and seeing the trays of white wine and champagne circulating felt like a slap in the face. Surprising because I so rarely have a real urge to drink these days, yet stepping into that room with so many people I knew I had to be introduced to and chat up, I wanted a big glass of cold Viognier so much. Felt almost like a freak not having a wineglass in hand. I can’t do this, I thought. Actually considered making an excuse and leaving, even texted my husband that I might (“I’m the only one not drinking!”). But I didn’t. This is good practice for your muscles, I told myself. And if an uncomfortable dinner is your biggest complaint, your life is okay. I stayed.
It still sucked, but sometimes things suck, right? I said my hellos, made my party chat, laughed at the right times, but I was also deep inside myself watching everything around me. A few people got drunk and loud and talked incessantly about themselves (my god, the stories I could tell you). Others had a cocktail and a glass of wine or two, spread out over several hours. (I spent a little time thinking about how much I hate people who are able to do that; hopefully no one noticed me glowering.) And contrary to my panicked text, I saw that a few other people weren’t drinking at all. I realized at some point that drinking wouldn’t have made the night much better; it would have loosened my tongue a bit, but really, who cares? Waiting in the valet line [which was filled with obviously tipsy drivers) later on, it felt so good to be cool-headed and clear and headed home to a pineapple-shrub-and-soda and the new Best American Short Stories. A bad night sober still beats a bad night drunk, hands down.
4 thoughts on “Sometimes you just gut it out”
Awesome story! Thank you for sharing!
I totally can relate. It has taken me awhile to feel more comfortable in such social situations, without a drink in hand. It gets better. And easier. And way more fun. It is all about working those unfamiliar muscles. You are doing great!
Big congrats for toughing it out. And reading the new Best American Short Stories makes for a far, far better end to an evening than being full of wine, hands down!
Good for you. Congratulations for sticking it out and on reaching 120 days. How do you make a pineapple shrub and soda, sounds intriguing, my tonic and lime can get a little boring.