One of the best things that has come from being sober for the past seven months is that I feel like I’ve started to get a much better perspective on my life, and while it is debatable that I have gained a better insight into my life I do at least feel more in tune with myself. It would also be fair to say that another part of this new look at my life has to do with entering the quote, unquote area of my life known as middle age.
Throughout the years, I thought that I was leading a life that would prevent me from having that large scale mid-life panic attack where I would want to buy an incredibly impractical car or leave my wife and family to start all over again with some 20-year old blonde.
A few things make the thought of such things laughable in my situation. For one, I’m a guy that still plays video games nearly every day, which doesn’t exactly make me hot stud on the market material for most women. Secondly, I bought a Prius when my station wagon got totaled last year because fuel economy was so much more important to me than having a car that looked stylish. Lastly, blondes aren’t my kind of thing, maybe if I would have said redhead… um… but where was I?
It’s fair to say that some of the things that I have been realizing over the past few months have a lot to do with expectations, but not the ones that I have been, or would be, setting for myself.
When I gave up drinking, I had more than a few reasons for doing so, but what I could not have foreseen was how much my decision would seem to impact others.
Over the past few months, encounters with others, have varied from people accepting my decision and moving on, to the idiotic environments where people tried to make me wear a funny hat because I was the only person who was not drinking.
Recently, a few of my closer friends have stated to me that they don’t know what to make of our relationship now that I have quit drinking. Each time this has come up it has been, more or less, a gut punch to my psyche. Sadly, every time that someone says something like this to me it has made me think about having a drink.
It would be so easy to just pick up a beer (or glass of wine) and go right back to being that same person that they were so comfortable being around, but that’s not the person that I am or want to be any more.
Thankfully, each time that these ideas or feelings come up, I have been able to push them back down and realize that I like the person that I am more now because I’m not drinking and that I don’t need what alcohol was providing. What has given me pause over the past few months is that some people seem to need me to be drinking in order for them to be comfortable around me and that is a difficult concept to wrap my head around.
A few weeks ago I was talking with my oldest daughter and some how or another the conversation ended with us talking about going to a bar. She looked at me and said, “Dad, I’m glad that you don’t drink any more.”
I couldn’t have imagined a simpler statement from anyone that could have had the impact that was generated from those 9 words.
My daughter loves me and is happy with the change that I made, even though she doesn’t understand all of the reasons why I did it. I can only hope that, eventually, my friends can reach that same conclusion as well.