Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Company Party.

Last night was our holiday party (we are an ad agency that likes to do things differently and have our party AFTER the holiday) and for the first time in many, many years I decided to go.

To be honest, I was dreading it all week. I am moving, I am in the process of ending a long, drawn out relationship that has been taxing for years and I generally feel more comfortable in a pair of jeans than heels. I've been feeling overwhelmed and going to a big party at a NYC hotspot sounded less enticing than sitting in front of the television moping.

BUT, it was work. AND, I decided I needed to do something to celebrate my newly single status.

I have to say, for the first time in many years, I had a fantastic time. At first, I was in my usual sober panic mode. I grabbed my diet coke in a martini glass and finished it before it left the bar. I returned for a highball glass with more caffeine. The only ones who really noticed were the bartenders who thought I was one of those quirky people who order things just to be a pain or pregnant with a penchant for high maintenance. However, I went through all my usual machinations about being sober in a place filled with people drinking and standing out like a sore thumb.

I think people were more struck by the fact that I was actually wearing a dress and full make-up more so than they were about the fact that I was not drinking. So, I had nothing to fall back on. My panic was unfounded. I was not alone in my sobriety, I was just uncomfortable for a hour or so.

And then I found the dance floor. I danced. I started a conga line. I shook and shimmied and did my finest roger rabbit from the '80s. It was pure elation.

From there, it got better. I decided to stop focusing on my comfort level and just enjoyed myself. A strange concept for one who looks for all reasons to skip out the door. I chatted and socialized with everyone, drinking or not drinking.

Towards the end of the party, I began to see the line blurring. Suddenly, the love between everyone grew like wildfire. Inhibitions were being lost. I was hysterical. I laughed so hard, I felt vicariously drunk. But, not a sappy "You are my best friend even though I've never seen you in office" came out of my mouth. I enjoyed everyone and even their transformations were slightly amusing.

I felt so happy and so proud. I maintained a sober dignity that had been hours lost by most. I was composed enough to slip out, get a cab and watch the last of Project Runway by 10pm.

Today, I am slightly enjoying the fact that I was here at 8am with no hangover and vivid, clear memories of one of the best nights out I've had in a long time.


Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog for quite some time while considering giving up drinking. I've known I've been a "bad drinker" (I know there is a much more pointed word for this) for quite some time. I finally had the meltdown, the comments from friends the realization of the years of forgotten nights, picked fights, need for morning apologies and guilt etc... I did it. I have started my journey. I've started before, but this time is different. I'm not thinking a month, I'm thinking forever. This time I've reached out for help and am taking advice and doing it a day at a time.

At any rate, my question/comment is this: does it have to be a forever sober monkey on your back? Couldn't it just be more like a personality trait? An aspect of who you are. I've decided to not care what other people think. If someone gives me a hard time about not drinking in a social situation, then, you know what, F them! Sobriety is me giving myself a gift every time I chose to say no to alcohol. Sobriety is battle to be waged, but not a burden, a challenge I will take on, like may others in my life.

sober in montana said...

hi, i guess i am leaving a comment for annoymous... the one who posted the comment at 2:06 pm 1.14.08.

to annonymous: congratulations on your sober choice. you wont regret it. in regard to your 'sober monkey on your back,' i think that is a funny and great comment. i'll have to borrow that. i will say that 'no' you dont have to have a forever sober monkey. like kim wrote in a reposted blog post, after a while you stop being "sober dude" and just become "dude" (or dudette if you are a woman...dont know). its stops being about what you are not doing (drinking) and what you ARE DOING! the monkey falls off the shoulder.

i am a little over 1 1/2 sober.

Lisa said...

I love your blog. I am 40 years old and have been "bad drinking" since the tender age of 13. I have only been sober for 1 week, but for me that is something good. I am giving it over to a higher power because obviously I am helpless. I hope someday I can go to a holiday party and be/feel as strong as you did. You are my inspiration!