Following step-daddy's recent departure, there was a
gathering of family at Mom's house, some time after the
(At the celebration of life that commenced on his own
property, one of the poor relations had quipped that she
wouldn't be attending since it would likely be nothing
but a drunken orgy. She was not missed, but she also
was not off mark on the drinking aspect. These folks can
pack it away like nobody's business.)
But at Mom's it was just a small, casual dinner and
meet, with the five of us. Still, the drinks were flowing
plentifully. Lite beers, Kahlua, wine, mixed drinks, and
everything in between.
In addition to the preponderance of alcohol, there was
still constant pushing of the booze, as if my sobriety and
umpteen reminders that I do not want to drink had never
occurred. That's a bit of an irritant, but I have gotten better
at not being flustered by it. My true issue with that is that
the main culprits involved are in fact aware that I am sober,
and it seems to be a game with them to try and get me to
partake. Or at the very least, they want to see if refusing
to acknowledge or respect my choice will upset me. Totally
not cool, but, also not worth getting excited about, so....
It's frustrating to be around folks who are acting like their
excessive drinking causes no side-effects, who are sort
of quietly defensive about their habits, and who are oblivious
to losing sight of such things as commanding all attention in
a room, forgetting how to close doors, and so forth.
Yes, I imagine this is what awareness feels like.
(Worth noting; this behavior is not particular to a period
of grieving; this is an all-year-long behavioral constant.)
So as drunks abound and your mother is reprising her role
as head critic of your every move--while heaping praise on
her new found family--I paused. Recognized the historical
nature of it all. All the personalities and animalistic nonsense.
The lack of importance of it all.
It was more difficult steering clear of the emotional and
head games than staving off any longing to drink. Other
than a momentary sense of being excluded from the group--
as the sole teetotaler--I was fine.
The shift of perspective from being 'tied in to what anyone
else thinks or does about me or to me,' to someone who
'is confident and complete within his own shell' is becoming
easier and easier to access, even in the most trying of
No matter the company, no matter the drama, no matter
the mindset, I still have absolute control over every one of
my choices and decisions. (And, had things been 'too much'
at the moment, I could always have left. There is nothing
I am obligated to endure, and certainly nothing worth the
sacrifice of my well-being!)