This past weekend was our local street festival. This is a relatively new event, this may have been the 4th annual.
In 2008 my husband and I met my sister, her fiance, her future in laws, and my parents to go downtown. As had been the case for the previous 3 years I was bound by my work contract not to drink in public. I fixed a big vodka and something in a sonic cup and went on. Before we left my sister's house I refilled my cup. I can't be sure but there is a fair chance we took the bottle with us in the truck.
It was June. It was hot. We walked up and down the streets, looking at booths and some of our party took part in the wine tastings. Actually, all in our party did, except me. Remember, I couldn't drink in public. Surely everyone thought I had a cherry limeade in my sonic cup.
We saw people we knew, talked to friends, had a fine time. I can't tell you who the musical performer was. At one point I saw a couple from my church. The husband said "I like you a lot more, seeing that beer in your hand".....um wait, wasn't I NOT supposed to be drinking in public? Whatever.
I drove home because apparently I was less drunk than my husband. Oh right, HE drank in public.
Fast forward two days. I was at my new morning Bible Study. We had only met two times. A gal in my group came up to me afterwards and mentioned a mutual friend. I asked her how on earth she knew I knew that friend. She looked at me, really confused. "Remember when we all were talking Saturday night?"
No, I didn't.
At that point I felt like crap. Like I needed to quit drinking. I told one friend, but no one else. Not even my husband. It worked for a little while. I didn't drink again until the end of August. Then came the season of bridal showers and bachelorette parties. I started drinking. I tried to hide it for a bit. At the rehearsal dinner I told the only friend who knew I had quit drinking that indeed I WAS going to drink that night. She didn't try to stop me. While I didn't get drunk that night or the next at the reception, I did have a hangover the morning after. As did most of my family.
The next two months were filled with drinking. And drinking. And drinking.
I again had a bad night in December and have not had a drink since Decmber 16, 2008.
In 2009 I was not strong enough to handle the festival downtown. I didn't even try to go.
This year I wanted to go. I liked the headline performer and I had 18 months of sobriety under my belt. We dropped the kids at my in laws and met up with my parents and sister downtown. They were drinking beer, laughing, having fun. I started having fun too.
We went to dinner at a great dive and my mom announced that she really needed food. I just laughed along with everyone else and didn't get annoyed. Truly, a miracle. We went back to the other end of main street and heard the music. It was good. The crowd was fun and we saw some friends.
Other than a short few minutes when I got upset with my mister for a percieved slight due to intoxication, the night was great. It was hot, but bearable. I knew most of the songs he sang and I drove home, completely sober.
Then I woke up feeling fine. I thanked God for how far I have come and for my strength to withstand alcohol. Yes, there were moments when I wished I had a beer or a wine glass. But it did not bring the whole night down for me. I did not feel sorry for myself, nor irritated with all the drinking everyone else was doing.
There IS hope!