We have all at one time or another placed exceptions to our sobriety. Such as, “I’ll only drink on special occasions or when on vacation.” I think its our way of coping. Our way of saying it won’t be like this forever. The problem is it reinforces an idea that the alcohol industry has sold us – sobriety is a bad time. A time we just need to muster through. Well, never mind the pitfall that awaits, it’s overall just a shitty thing to say. It loaded with negativity, discouragement and mistrust. Nothing about an exception implies that this decision you’ve made to be sober is positive, healthy, peaceful, joyful and I’d venture to say the best decision you could ever make for yourself.
My husband and I went to an all inclusive resort for our honeymoon 13-ish years ago. Our first day there we met a couple at the swim up bar. It was around noon. He was horribly wasted. Just shitty. Hand movements, head rolls and all. She was stone cold sober and looked terrified. They had gotten married on the resort earlier that morning. It was a gorgeous sunny day in Antigua. This should have been the best day of their lives but they looked woefully unhappy. Well, she did. He just looked drunk. It didn’t take long for him to blurt out “I don’t drink. I’ve been sober 10 years. I always told myself if I ever went to an all inclusive resort I’d let myself drink.” I will never forget that moment. The way it spilled out of him defiantly. The message was clear that he’d continue drinking and nobody was going to stop him. He had been waiting for this moment for ten years. The look of confusion and sadness on her face. “I have never seen him drink alcohol in all our years together. This is the first time. On our wedding day.”
I was sure hoping that he’d sober up to what he’d done and spend the rest of his honeymoon, well sober. He didn’t. We saw that couple at various times of the day for 5 days. Each time we saw him he was stumbling drunk and rambling on about how he’d go back to being sober when he got home. And each time she looked more and more detached. Can you imagine? This man could have had the best honeymoon of his life. I guarantee you he doesn’t remember a bit of it. I wonder if they’re even still married.
I’ll just end it here and let that sink in. I’m heading to yoga.