Quitting Booze and Breaking the News to the BFFs

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I was two solid weeks into sobriety when I started breaking the news to my girlfriends. They were shocked. Well, some of them were. Okay, not shocked. Surprised maybe. Well, one of them was. Okay, so maybe she wasn’t surprised. She was disappointed. And a bit sad. At first.

For years I had been a reliable drinking buddy. I could be counted on. It was understood. There would always be booze. Friday night, Saturday night or Wednesday afternoon. Cocktails were part of the friendship. It was understood. We spoke the same language.

And so my friend was understandably distraught when I told her it was over. She mulled over every possibility she could think of. Reasons why the drinking wasn’t working out so well for me. She considered it all. The nitrates. Red before white. White before red. Empty stomach. Full stomach. My hormones. The full moon. I painstakingly ruled out every suggestion my friend offered while she held out hope that maybe we could figure this thing out. That maybe I didn’t have to quit entirely. Just change things up a little. Drink better. Drink smarter. Drink different.

But I had already considered every possibility, I assured. For me, there was no more denying. The problem was me. The problem was booze. The problem was me and booze. There was no wiggle room. It was over. Me and booze weren’t working out anymore. It was over for sure.

“I’m gonna miss your drunk, happy ass,” she said, finally. “But I’m proud of ya. If it’s what you want, then I want it for you.”

 And with that, always the hostess, she headed to the kitchen and created for me the most beautiful drink concoction she could come up with. Minus the booze.

We sat in her backyard as we’d done a hundred times before. The French doors wide open and the music cranked up. The melancholy voice of Norah Jones drifted out into the cool night air. Logs smoldered in the fire pit. Candles flickered on the patio table between us. Little white garden lights twinkled in the trees. My friend’s dogs, all three of them, stretched out lazily around the pool. The water was a thick winter green.

Me with my flamboyant faux cocktail. My friend with her scotch.
We soaked up the atmosphere and mourned the loss of me.

It was too soon yet to celebrate the new me. We weren’t even sure who that would be.

Not quite ten o’clock, it was uncharacteristically early when I decided to call it a night. There was no talk of sleeping over. No thoughts of calling home to ask my husband for a ride. No calculating how much wine I’d drunk in how many hours. We didn’t do the math. None of that was necessary. Not a drop.

As I drove home the sadness slipped away and I relished in the freedom of being able to simply get up and go. The freedom of sobriety.

In the weeks and months that followed I dropped by my friend’s house less often than usual. But when I did she and the rest of the girlfriends tripped over each other fixing me something pretty, fruity, fizzy, non-alcoholic in a grown up glass. It wasn’t necessary. It was awkward really. But it came from the heart. They wanted me to feel welcome and comfortable. They wanted me to succeed in my decision to quit. They cared.

I don’t see those girlfriends anymore (except Facebook, of course). My family moved from the area several years ago. I’m forever grateful though, for the way they rallied to support me in those early days.

Good friends are hard to come by. Yet, I’ve got a bunch of em. Cause I’m lucky like that, I guess.

Cheers,
J

15 comments on “Quitting Booze and Breaking the News to the BFFs
  1. This, my Dear Friend, is an eloquent, funny, endearing, and informative piece! Truthfully, is there any reason we should not seek to reverse the gears of Alcohol consumption in our lives? Especially since most of us have made alcohol as much of a staple as bread n butter, Since the age of 12, 13 14?

    Why not then, aim to venture into a world of Purity; of Mind Body n Spirirt, and a life of Clear thinking. Why not then, put and end to diverting so much hard earned dollars to drink, and direct those funds to more useful and important things.

    My Dear You truly have my support, and prayers, and I thank you for Having the Courage to invite us into this next, and most fun venture, for the Rest of our lives!!!

    J.D.

    • Oh thank you John for such compliments and support! That’s so sweet.
      Yep, sure was a staple in my life. For me it just had to stop.
      I’ve got plenty of friends who still thoroughly enjoy and that’s cool too.
      If I could drink like regular people, I’d do it all the time! (That’s a joke. Get it? Not an original by me. I stole it.)
      I’m still hoping to see a ‘weekender’s guide to NYC’ type blog from you one day. No pressure,…

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve been going through a similar change and find it awkward and challenging to say the least. Especially, since the majority of my drinking buddies are from work and the temptation to give in is strong after a hard days work.

    Again, thanks for sharing and best wishes!

    • Thanks for reading Eric. It gets easier, especially if you don’t go it alone. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself! My blog is not ‘how to’ but I have included a resource page. Check it out!

  3. Jeanne,
    Lovely writing! I also had similar experiences early in recovery with my friends. Only my friends weren’t sad to see the booze leave MY life, just sad to lose a drinking buddy or maybe just didn’t want to take a look at their own drinking…
    I experienced all the awkward moments of “What DO you want to drink??” though. And eventually just stopped hanging out with them as well. I have new friends now. Friends that want the same thing I want. Not that my friends weren’t supportive, just that friendship faded when we didn’t have the same goal every evening. I’ve made friends that are there in the good times & the bad. It’s more like a family now. The freedom from King Alcohol is amazing & I wouldn’t trade it for all the drinking buddies in the world! So glad you found my FB page! Feel free to post new blogs anytime!

    • Thank you Julie. It’s a wonderful life!
      Thanks for visiting & commenting.
      I enjoy your page & will share some posts. You as well, feel free to re post any of my posts.

  4. I love this post. I get it. In my experience after the initial surprise (shock), the “not drinking” anymore really became a non-issue. The freedom of sobriety is amazing. I can totally understand the comment about the drive home and the freedom you feel when you can just get up and go! Thanks Dave

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