I've been a military spouse for almost a decade now, so that means I've attended a lot of Navy Christmas parties.
There's a few things you can except every year, and that includes copious amounts of alcohol and a lot of drunk Sailors.
My husband and I drank heavily at every party except this year. This year we attended and didn't drink because we are both sober. I can't lie, I was nervous to attend at first. I haven't gone to any large social gatherings since I've gotten sober so I didn't know what to expect.
On our way to the event, I had a random craving for a Christmas Ale. I loved starting the holidays off with a special seasonally flavored beer. Fortunately, I've experienced cravings before and knew to just observe the thought, not freak out and let it pass.
The party was at a large hotel and the minute I walked in I was nervous. There were at least 200 people there, and I knew no one except for my husband. I'm an outgoing person, but I still get anxious meeting new people. I get anxious at Clayton's work events in particular because I want to make a good impression on the people he works with. I want them to think I'm funny and smart, so I put a lot of pressure on myself. I get in my head, and critique every little thing I say. I try and please everyone I meet. I know I'm not alone in these feelings. Drinking at parties was a way for me to quiet the judgmental voice in my head and gain some courage.
Everyone at our table was super nice, and no one asked me about why I wasn't drinking. Towards the end of dinner Clayton and I did head to the bar to get a mocktail. Unfortunately, some of his buddies were standing behind us and asked what we were getting to drink, and we said nothing with alcohol in it. They laughed and made some lighthearted jokes about us being sober, and then didn't say anything else. Standing in line I started to feel my face flush and I felt embarrassed that I wasn't drinking. The feeling eventually passed.
After dessert the music started and people headed to the dance floor. I've always loved to dance, sober or not. I'm usually the first one on the dance floor. But, this year was different. I will say it is hard to get out and dance without liquid courage running through your veins. Because I was sober last night I was hyper aware of everything. When I was drinking, my inhibitions were down and I didn't care what others thought.
I did have a lot of fun people watching. I've always enjoyed observing people. I love to look at other couples and how they interact. Clayton and I had a great time people watching together.
I was tired by 10 so we left shortly after that. When I was drinking we would've easily stayed out until 1 or 2 am. We made it safely home, and I was able to wake up today without a hangover and write thing blog.
Overall, I'd say I had a good time. My memories from past Christmas parties were obviously a lot different from this year's. If I'm being honest, sometimes alcohol does make things more fun, at least for the moment. This year's party wasn't nearly as exciting as ones in the past. Parties in the past where I was drinking were fun in the moment, but the next day was always awful. I was hungover and depressed.
But, that's the tricky thing about alcohol. It makes things look flashy and fun. I've been sober 670 days now, and sometimes I want a drink. But, I have to remind myself where that leads me. I can honestly say that I'm the happiest and most at peace I've ever been, and a big part of that is because I'm sober.
Living a sober lifestyle definitely requires work and sacrifice, but it's always worth it. If you're trying to get sober, just remember there's always hope.