Having Fun

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At the end of Kate’s, Sober School, video today on Taking a Break from Alcohol, she leaves you with a journal prompt: write down the ways in which alcohol has stopped you from having fun. I found this interesting, a different spin from always thinking about how it helps me to have a good time.

Let’s dig in.

(1) Sometimes it makes Rob’s and my “date nights” blow up in my face. If I prime too much at home, and have another drink at my mother-in-law’s when we drop off the kids, then by the time Rob and I sit down at the restaurant I’m already well past tipsy and more apt to get emotional. I’ll read too much into Rob’s tone of voice, or his inability to make good conversation. I’ll ruminate on that I didn’t get a compliment from him on how nice I looked, after all the time I took to get ready, having bought a new outfit, tried out new makeup, perfume, etc. I’ll choose a high-calorie entre and end up eating too much, then feel bloated and disappointed in myself as we walk around later. At home, I’ll be tired before Rob is, and I won’t be in the mood for sex really, but will do it to please him; that is, if we didn’t get into an argument over some stupid matter beforehand. And then of course I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with a hangover and won’t be able to get back to sleep which will lead to crankiness and exhaustion the next day.

(2) It has prevented me from doing weekend excursions with the kids. While at work on a Friday I’ll journal about how I want to take the kids to the zoo the following day, or maybe to bowl, or go see a movie in the theater. But if I have too much to drink that Friday night? I won’t feel up to it. I’ll suggest they just have a friend over at the house so I can nurse my mild hang over and can get out of having to “entertain” them. We could have been having fun together as a family, making memories, doing something active and engaging, but we end up doing our own thing.

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(3) It has kept me from attending a Saturday morning Tennis Cardio Session or Drill Clinic. For a while there, I was was going to Cardio Tennis early on Saturday mornings. It was a great way to meet people and get awesome exercise. I enjoyed playing tennis again, and I loved the sweat I worked up, how many calories I burned. I’d feel a rush of pleasure as I walked off the courts; I’d almost feel like a teenager. But whenever I drank the night before, I never could talk myself into attending after waking with an upset stomach and headache. Now that I know how much fun the Drill Clinics are, I don’t want to miss out on them. I want to excel at the sport.

(4) It has led me to watch Netflix over interacting with the kids on a weekday night. Back when I was drinking mid-week, I would oftentimes just do the bare minimum with the kids, especially if Rob was out of town. I’d fix them dinner, go through their school bags, and make sure they showered, but I would almost herd them off to their rooms or to the basement so that I could monopolize the living room TV and have my cocktails without feeling guilty (because of their watchful eyes). True, they seemed happy with this arrangement, but I only have them in the house for so long. Instead of hanging with them and doing things like playing ping-pong, taking the dogs for walks, doing puzzles, watching movies, cooking together, etc., I’ve wasted a lot of time with them all for the sake of a wine glass.

(5) It has stolen some holidays and special occasions/celebrations. There have been Christmases where I’ve literally deflated by mid-afternoon. Having started the morning off at my mother-in-law’s–with her spiked coffees or Mimosas–then downed Tom & Jerry’s first thing at my sister’s, come 3:00 PM, I’ve just been done for. All I’ve wanted to do was go home and lay on the couch. How many holidays have I zig-zagged between playing hostess and hitting the well-stocked bar, doing dishes with a wineglass sitting off to the side of the sink? By the time I did sit down to join my family, I was out of it from all the booze. I couldn’t really follow conversation or take an active interest in what the kids were up to.

These are the first five things that come to mind. I’m sure if I sat with this longer, I’d have more examples. But I get the point. I know what Kate is saying. I put too much weight onto alcohol, I give it too much credit when it comes to “having fun.” Booze actually takes the fun out of a festive occasion. It prevents me from cementing memories into my head. It keeps me in a foggy mist, so to speak; where I’m not fully present with those in the room with me, I’m not able to keep up with conversation, I become really self-centered, self-focused. And what fun is that?


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