Monday, November 19, 2012

Navigating new social waters...

So here I am in a new neighbourhood slowly getting to know people. I'm crazy busy all the time going  in and out of school, pre-school, the supermarket, the library, the swimming pool, the scout den, the shops, school again, the pool again, sports fields, gyms, rah rah rah. Taxi driver me. The life of a full-time mum.

And I've got some interesting territory to navigate because I am new here and no-one knows me yet, and certainly they don't know my 'secret' that I'm a boozy lush who had to give up the wines a year ago because I was hitting it too hard.

Twice in the last week I've found myself chatting to other mums on the sidelines of various events and they've made comments about drinking. One was on Friday afternoon and the woman I was talking to said something like 'can't wait to get home and have a wine' to which I replied 'I was just thinking how nice that would be' .. because unusually I had just been thinking that it would be nice to get some relief from the stressed out, wrung out feeling I'd had all day. I'd been allowing myself a moment of self-pity that I couldn't escape on a Friday evening with a bloody fucking wine LIKE MOST NORMAL PEOPLE!!!! GGGRRRRRR.......

Sorry about that...

Anyway so she said that to me, and I responded in a way that gave nothing away about my sobriety. Kind of odd but, you know, it wasn't the right time to launch into an explanation.

Then tonight the same thing happened... a different  mum on the sidelines of another kid event making a comment to me like 'can't wait to get home and *mimes opening bottle* have a drink!'. She said it in a kind of solidarity-type way, like 'us busy mums we need our wines don't we!!' kind of attitude. Again I decided it wasn't the time nor place to reveal my boozy background so I just sort of laughed out a 'ha ha yeah' kind of response.

One day I'm going to have to come clean. I suppose I'll just judge on a case by case (mum by mum) basis when I'll open up.

I sometimes wonder whether I should worry more that people might gossip about the fact that I'm an alcoholic who doesn't drink, or whether they're going to think that I'm boring because I don't drink, or any number of responses they might have when they discover my deep dark secret.

And then I think who gives a fuck what people think, if they get to know me and like me and if I like them we'll be mates regardless of my relationship with alcohol.

It's just the way it has to be and I refuse to be ashamed (fighting talk).

Love, Mrs D xxx


  1. You go, Mrs. D! I am newly sober and am inspired following your journey. I go to AA, which is GREAT, but so far haven't told anyone outside my family that I do. One day I will. American Thanksgiving is coming up, and I need to let a relative/drinking buddy know that I DO NOT want any wine and besotted conversation like Thanksgivings of the past!


  2. I just went with a tour group last week to a beautiful hacienda. The owner was there, the most gracious old chap I think I've ever met, and after the tour we all sat around on the verandah and margaritas were offered. Of course, every one raised their hand for one but me. "You're not having a margarita?" "Nope." (Never could stand tequila anyway, but wine was also offered). That was all the inquiry I got.

    The margaritas must have been quite strong because everyone was acting quite boozy after just one but they still had one and then another more. One woman accidentally stepped on the dog and then later we had to pull the van over so she could get out and throw up.

    Yes, I was smug.

    Did I already tell you all this? I'm so tired lately from all my coming and going, I can't remember and I'm too lazy to go look. That's why I haven't answered your lovely email, but I will.

    Anyway, I too find myself in the midst of new people that don't know about my boozy past. And here's the thing, some of them will write me off as not worth their time because I don't drink. That hurts. I realize how many people I did that to in my past and I wish I had them all as friends right now.

    Keep on, keeping on my Energizer Bunny!

  3. I have never been a drinker and you just described my life! I am always the one who it eventually comes out that I don't drink. People don't usually know quite what to do with that. I am fine not drinking....I never had a problem only because I never began. I came from a long line of "boozy lushes," I'm talking multi generational. lol I watched their behaviors and was terrified of becoming like them so I never drank. However, I always feel like I am the boring one. In my old age of 48 years, it is becoming less important if I am boring. At least everyone knows they always have a sober ride home!

    Anyway....enough about me! You are you and that is plenty good enough for everyone else. Be your brave individual self. I have a feeling you are able to pull off sobriety with a lot of style and make it look appealing to the rest of the girls. ;o)If not...screw them!

  4. I have always been upfront and honest about my clinical depression and my need to be medicated in order to function. As a result, over the years many, many people have thanked me for that honesty because it allowed them to either go for help or to no longer be ashamed. I love that I was able to have that kind of impact.

    I have approached my sobriety the same way. I say, "I don't drink" and if queried I say, "I quit when it got out of control" and sometimes even, "No, I'm a recovering alcoholic". The tattoo on my wrist with my sobriety date doesn't help, everyone asks about that.

    I recently had a friend call me because her husband needed help. I was able to put her in touch with the local AA group and a rehab. He's still sober and things are looking good that he'll stay that way.

    Another friend's husband is still deep into his addiction. Because I'm so real and raw about my drinking I've been able to help her navigate the rough waters of living with a drunk and have pointed her to many resources for her and her kids.

    You never, ever, ever have to be ashamed about the fact that you like your wine a little too much. After all - you're a wonderful, beautiful SOBER woman who rocks the taxi for the kids!

    In fact, I think you're a rock star!!!


  5. Have fun at the party and good luck with the explanation. i usually tell people that i was hospitalized (which is true) and the doctor told me i had to stop drinking (also true). What's strange is i feel the need to tell this to nearly everyone i meet the first time.

  6. You get out there Mrs D amongst it all . . . Anyone who is lucky enough to have you at their party will know how lucky they are.
    You're special, for sure, with love x x

  7. Nice to read and lovely to read everyones' comments. Timing and the language we use are important because it's all about being honest to ourselves before anything else. If we don't feel 'safe' enough to open up in certain situations then it's good not to, I think. I tend to open up too much and then feel vulenerable. Having our own personal boundaries is about deciding when and how we want to tell people about things. we don't have to tell everyone all the time, unless we really want to eh?
    "No thanks" or "I don't drink alcohol (anymore)'' is enough, or 'No, I'll just have a juice'. Shame in our culture we place so much emphasis on having a drink needing to mean alcohol! In other countries it wouldn't be an issue. I know heaps of people in Italy who hardly drink at all so no-one would bat an eyelid if you asked for a water, instead of a vodka. I drink alcohol, but not at the moment, and I read your blog because i think you are awesome! and inspirational! I feel like I would be so proud to say "yeah I know what you mean, but I don't drink alcohol anymore', or 'No thanks, just a juice for me' or "no thanks, alcohol doesn't agree with me" etc.... with a a sense of pride and truth, not shame and embarrassment. Our culture needs good role models like you! You rock! And you will always be fun, sexy, smart, awesome company and always more compassionate, caring and real. All I can say, apart from all the rest (ha), is stay true to yourself and say and be how you want depending on how you feel in the situation. Take my advice, I often don't use it! Love xox

  8. Time has given me a bit more confidence in telling others I don't drink without further explanation. I might appear like a fussy teetotaler or like I'm hiding something, but the air of mystery is kinda fun too. Once you get to know someone, everything changes and this approach doesn't really work. There's no shame that you stopped drinking before it dragged you down.