I was offered an opportunity this week. I could have a drink and no one would ever have to know about it, or I could stay true to myself and my readers.
For anyone that’s wondering, yes, staying sober can be really difficult. At some point you’ll find yourself surrounded by people with glasses in their hands and smiles on their faces. It will seem like they are having a much better time than you are. In this moment, you will strongly consider having a drink. “Just one,” you’ll tell yourself, “Just one and then I’ll go home.”
This week, I found myself in this exact situation… only I didn’t say, “Just one.” I said, “It’s time to go home.”
I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t hang out in a bar. I couldn’t stick around while the group cracked open their second bottle of wine. I couldn’t imagine throwing my integrity as a writer away for the sake of a drink. I found myself feeling panicked.
The longer I stayed, the more intense my anxiety became. I felt like if I wasn’t drinking, I wasn’t part of the group. Not because I was being excluded from anything, I wasn’t, but because an old, unhealthier part of me had formed a connection between alcohol and belonging.
So, I did what a healthier, more future-focused me would do. I went home.
I made it another week without alcohol. Another week without hangovers, drama, and drunken mistakes. I got to be 100% me 100% of the time because this week, I said no to alcohol all over again.