Summer in Sobriety, Down by the Pool

Hobo WeddingMy friend was telling me about a woman she had recently met. This woman was newly sober, just a couple weeks in. She was concerned that summer was around the block. Her husband and her were renowned for their pool parties, and she was worried that if they did not serve alcohol, no one would come. Two weeks sober and she’s are worried about pool parties? I would have laughed if I hadn’t known she was dead serious.

When I first got sober, I had my own obsession: my wedding day. As I remember, early on I met a girl who had met a boy on AA campus and had gotten married. She was telling me about their relationship and life, but I didn’t get further than… “Wedding? Hold up, you had a sober wedding? No one drank? No endless champagne toasts? No open bar? A dead sober wedding?” I could not imagine such a thing. So, I obsessed about it, what my sober wedding would look like. Would we serve alcohol, and I would just not drink, or would the whole wedding be dry? Would we have water in club soda in champagne glasses or would that just look tacky? Would anyone dance? All this time, I didn’t even have a boyfriend, let alone a fiancé.

And that, my friends, is how I know I am an alcoholic.

I read a startling statistic the other day: 60% percent of women drink at least one drink a year. That is not the part that startled me. What shocked me was that if 60% drink at least one drink a year, 40% of women do not drink at all! Nothing!

I think it is hard for heavy drinkers to fathom that many people do not drink. We think that if we order a Coke at a party, the record player will come to a screeching halt as the attention of the whole room focuses on our lack of a proper cocktail. The reality is no one cares. Wait… what I should say is no one cares, but the other alcoholics in the room, the other people who cannot imagine that one might forego a drink.

In our disease we only hung out with people like us, who did what we did. They acted like us and drank and used like us. It’s how we justified our own actions. Then when we get sober, I think our minds just grasp on to whatever we can. There’s so much going on and changing, the idea of changing everything, even our pool parties and wedding aspirations gets a little overwhelming.

I wish I could have talked to that lady. I would have told her not to worry. Some people won’t go to her party, the active alcoholics won’t go. But 40% of the population goes to pool parties to swim and 40% go to weddings to see the actual wedding. 40% don’t drink. Period. So find them. Be friends with them. Make the 40% your 100% and you’ll have rocking parties once again.

Heck, I’ll go. Let summer begin!