I WENT TO MY FIRST PARTY!!
It was a (albeit small) house party. There was booze. There were people I’ve never met before—people who I would normally wreck my mind over trying to impress because they are important to someone who is important to me. It was a classic setup for something I would IMMEDIATELY turn to a drink-in-hand to feel more at ease with myself and my uncomfortable setting.
Not only was alcohol not an issue, it was not even in the forefront of my mind. I mean….. I didn’t even recognize myself. Physically, yes, but everything else was different.
Let me start by saying I have been aggressively working on being mindful. The tools of mindfulness are what I have been yielding, and they haven’t failed me yet. The change has been profound, and has permeated every faucet of my LIFE.
I will say that I did have moments, a few fleeting moments, where I worried that this party would be my demise. I had thoughts of myself crumbling upon arrival, saying yes to the drink but, worst of all, yes to my old mindset of judgement, self-loathing, etc etc.
But I reminded myself that those thoughts were fleeting, just imaginary stories of a reality that didn’t even exist. STOP MAKING SHIT UP! And like, that I found peace again and stopped dwelling on the future.
On the drive down—didn’t dwell. Didn’t say “do you think your friends will like me?” or ponder what I was going to talk about with them. I remained present in the car, in my conversation with Karl, in the moment. Every time my mind tried to wander, I would pull myself back to the moment. This gave me a profound sense of peace.
Fast forward to the party. I realized at this party that I am not the same person I was a week before. I barely even recognized myself spiritually. Here are a few profound changes that I observed from myself at the party:
- No cravings to drink. I went in there with my shiny new set of tools and, interestingly enough, did not once crave alcohol. Not only did I not crave alcohol, it just felt like not drinking was the natural choice. Like, something that didn’t even make sense for me in that moment in time. It was so natural, so intuitive.
- No alcohol FOMO!!! Before, in my past attempts at sobriety, I would go to a party and not drink, but the whole time feeling like I was missing out and feeling jealous of everyone else who was capable of drinking like a ‘normal person’. Not this time. Again, I was in such a state of surrender and acceptance that my thoughts didn’t even go there. There was nothing to go to. These people are drinking. I am not. It seemed as normal and natural as the sun setting over the horizon.
- Ability to talk about drinking without judgment/suffering. Before, in my past sobriety, I would feel the need to either not talk about drinking, or bring up how I don’t drink. Like I had something to prove. Last night I had no problem relating with other about drinking without any emotional reaction. Like, if something brought out a certain bottle of nice tequila, I could say “Omg, I love that brand, it’s so smooth!” without any emotional reaction. Or when one of the girls mentioned how she drank to much wine one night, I could say “I totally feel you girl! It starts with one glass then next thing you know it’s five!” and laugh about it. I didn’t feel like I had to attach to being a drinker or non drinker. I could connect and relate to others, without judgement on drinking/not-drinking. To say ‘yes, I’ve been there, I understand you’ without having to prove where I am now. It was so freakin liberating!!!!
- Newfound comfort in connecting with others from the heart, rather than from liquid courage. Since booze was so far from my thoughts, I was able to really focus on the moment, and in connecting with everyone at the party on a very genuine and sincere level. I was able to be present and hold space for others.
- Not stressing over fitting in. Yes. I had an issue with this in the past. I was pretty dolled up, and this was a crowd of climbers and outdoorsy people. Girls that don’t wear makeup but lots of patagonia. Normally I would probably think “damn, I should have worn this or this or wish I wore less makeup so they would feel like they can connect with me more”. But NO! I had this strong awareness that my makeup and clothes didn’t define me, and moved past that fear.
I had a great time, but the kind of ‘great time’ that stems from somewhere genuine. I’m so glad I didn’t try to avoid the situation (as I’m sure AA would have told me to do). I know that as long as I keep doing the work spiritually, the rest will fall into place with ease.