Drinking Diaries: Valentines Day Last year Valentines Day was on a Sunday, so it was a year ago today I guess. I felt this thing I hadn’t felt this strongly in a long time, probably hadn’t since I was young and fragile, when i was raw and vulnerable. I felt “left out”. So, I had only been sober a month, not even, and a huge group of my friends were going to brunch and they didn’t invite me because I didn’t drink anymore. I saw all of them before, like right before, we all did yoga together and after they all got their lipgloss on and threw on a pink scarf and headed out to brunch. I was ok. Because to be honest, I would have been uncomfortable. I had literally just quit drinking a couple weeks prior so I was totally awkward. I would have not wanted to go, in all honesty, because I would have wanted to have mimosas too and that would have been hard and it was all still new and I may have regretted my big decision. Even so, it hurt. I felt left out, and even though I didn’t want to go, I still felt the loss. It’s a strange thing. So I rode my bike to the west bank of the river and I cried. I just cried like a teenager about a boy. I cried like I hate people, and friends and alcohol and social drinking and over drinking (which is why I can’t social drink) and about how I miss out and will miss out for the rest of my missing out life because I “can’t” drink and I hate it. And I was mad. I was mad that I didn’t “get” to decline. Ha, that sounds sick. I wanted to be given the decency to “decline” the invitation to come and drink. I didn’t want to be left off the list, left out, un-included, out of the loop, uninvited… really, plain ol rejected. That is what it felt like….rejection. But, I was fine. It was a beautiful day, with a gorgeous sun and a light breeze and I was happy, happier than I had been in a long time, and I was fine. And i let myself think of the alternative. Drinking champagne at lunch, more alcohol later, more and more, hell, it’s Valentines Day for Christ’s sake I get to have a ton. and Monday would have killed me yet again. So, i was grateful, really, and free and glad, really, but it still stung. I don’t know what the protocol is for asking NEWLY non- drinking drinking buddies out to drink or not to drink, you know? it’s that simple-ugh. in my opinion a) tell them about the event and say we would like you to come but I know drinking isn’t your thing anymore and we want to respect that so you are invited but we won’t be offended if you decline b) If it is an occasion that is typically centered around alcohol , ie. a superbowl party or St. Patricks day or ‘Wine Drinking’ holiday (whatever that day is), then probably assume they don’t want to join in. Don’t take this personally, it’s not that they don’t love you… they just don’t need to put themselves in that scene to show their love. c) ask them to do other “non-drinking” things like coffee, walk, shopping, playing a game (tennis or scrabble), yoga, the gallery, making something crafty (paint, making valentines day cards, purple glaze), book club, cooking class, i dunno, now I am stretching it. but you get the picture. Since i associate restaurants so much with drinking it is still hard for me to go to dinner. I know restaurants are mostly for eating, but when I went to a restaurant I was going to DRINK and eat, so it is still not my thing to meet out for dinner. And meeting people out to a bar to talk and join them while they drink is not gonna happen anytime soon. sorry. What I do like, however is parties, weird I know. I am not stuck at one bar stool or table I can move around and talk to everyone and it feels free and I can slip out when it time and so its ok. So it’s tricky. and that is just me. so… food for thought. drinks for thought. I think feelings have been unnecessarily hurt and friendships slipped away due to misguided, yet polite “un-including”, or a chronic declining invitations. Since designated drivers barely exist anymore(uber), party drinkers don’t really get to feel what it’s like to witness the night from those eyes and its a whole different view. and eventually it’s ok. i bet. I am just not there yet.