The family gathering went okay! People didn’t drink much. I really think it’s true that a lot of people (probably all of us) morph somewhat into the context. One family unit in particular I suspect get a bit more rowdy when they’re gathered with their own kids, for example.
Beer-wise, I ended up buying some middle-of-the-road IPA for the two beer-drinkers after realizing that’s what they go for. None of my very creatively purchased beer got drunk (which says that a total of six bottles of beer were drunk over the whole two days). I sent it home with my dad and his wife, who will drink it over the next, oh, six months.
It’s over, my introvert was stunned but not harmed in the process, and the time together was frankly magical. People really gelled, and got to know eachother. It occurred to me more than once that had I been drinking I would have been sneaking alcohol the whole time. And would have been the only person actually tipsy (or worse).
Over time the absence of any sneaking around, planning, plotting, timing alcohol metabolism is one of the great gifts of being alcohol-free. At day 239 I still feel very much in this process. A big part of me does not want to not drink alcohol. It misses its beer. I let it miss its beer and tell me about it. I stick to my little practices that stabilize me every day or week. And I am grateful to be living freely, away from that stupid sneaking around. Positioning myself over here, on the other side of the river where I’ve gotten used to another rhythm of living that’s apart from alcohol, is so good and right and freeing. I’m painfully aware of how quickly the malware of alcohol would attach to my brain cells if I were to start drinking again, and suck me down into the muck, making me want alcohol every day and even sort of every hour. A demand for it rises powerfully in my mind so quickly, and changes the shape of my desires and decisions so relatively quickly.
No matter how awkward my brain feels in the moment, it’s way better than the sneaking-around obsession. I feel confident that the desire for a cold beer will recede eventually. And you know what? Even if it doesn’t, I’m still free.
Have a good one.
Addendum: Of the four bottles of wine I bought, the guests drank a grand total of one (and somebody must have also brought one which they drank). I took two bottles back to one store and had the third sitting around for a few days. It rode around in my car until I could get to the other store and attempt to return it. It was just an object on the floor of the passenger side. After I took it in and they wouldn’t take it back (what I figured), however, Wolfie suddenly got very interested. Wanted to claim it. We could drink the whole thing and no one would know. I immediately realized I gotta get this thing out of my possession. (A few years ago my partner’s sister gifted me a bottle wine during an earlier alcohol-free period, and a blog commenter urged me to get rid of the thing. Brilliant advice. I poured it on my compost pile.)
I don’t honestly know many people in this town who drink (I know. weird subculture.). And I am not opposed to dumping out alcohol. But I looked around the grocery store parking lot, saw a 70ish woman walking toward me, and asked her if she would like it. Velvet Devil!! She said sure, thank you, and off they went.
I am now free of the bottles and the inner drama.