Friday, 26 February 2016

Hell is Other People

You know what? After the first 100 days or so of being sober, it would be really, really easy if it weren't for everybody else.

(See the post I wrote on Day 88 titled Dear Friend. Click here).

You get to a point, relatively quickly, where you are quite happy on your own without booze. But we can't live life on our own, and everybody else drinks.

It's difficult to constantly remind yourself that alcohol is a poison when you see people paying vast sums for 'fine wine' and sipping it reverentially.

It's tough to remember that alcohol causes stress and anxiety, rather than relieving it when you're surrounded by people talking about looking forward to 'wine o'clock', so they can properly 'chill.'

It's hard to be relaxed about being sober at a party when the world seems to think that the only way to socialise is when inebriated.

It's easy to think surely they can't all be wrong? I can't be the only one who's sees it like it is.

But just because 'everybody else' believes something does not make them right.

I went to see the movie The Big Short with Mr SM. It was brilliant. The simplest, most engaging and the funniest explanation of the global financial crash that I've come across.

The movie is the story of the (very small) group of people who predicted the housing market collapse in the US, and foretold its implications. As a result, they bet against the mortgage market, which was, at the time, seen as rock solid by 99.9% of 'financial experts.'

They were viewed as lunatics. They are now acknowledged as visionaries, and are all billionaires.

There were many conversations during the film along the lines of "surely they can't all be wrong?" "Why does no-one else see what's really going on?" "You have to believe in yourself."

There's a genius (with Asperger's) in the film called Michael Burry. He drove his hedge fund into the ground for two years, against the advice of all his investors, betting against the market.

It was hugely stressful. More and more investors pulled funds, or threatened to sue. Everyone called him crazy. Did he go out and get drunk to unwind? No, he blasted out rock music really loud and played imaginary drums.

(Incidentally, I find playing air guitar, and/or singing badly, to loud music a great way of beating off the wine witch. Pick music from your youth, from simpler days that didn't involve too much booze and aren't loaded with drunk memories. I go for Queen, Bowie, Eurythmics, Dire Straits, even ABC).

The ones getting loaded on champagne in strip clubs were all the bankers who believed that the good times would go on for ever.

The clever guys weren't in the bars - they were watching their spreadsheets, drinking coffee, and wondering how everyone could be so blind.

Zigging while everyone is zagging is HARD. But it's also COOL. And it's the right thing to do.

Since I titled this post with a quote from Satre, I'll keep up the intellectual theme and end with a Nietzsche quote:

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

I'm throwing a party tonight for 75 people to celebrate my birthday, beating cancer and (secretly) a year of being sober. I'll be the only one not drinking alcohol. But that's okay. I've always wanted to be unique.

(It just seems a little unfair that I'm the one paying the bar bill)

Love SM x

33 comments:

  1. Happy belated birthday lovely SM. sorry I'm late with this message. All going well in my sober sphere - and I can honestly say I would not have got here without you. You totally rock. Enjoy your party. Will be raising a mock tail in your honour! Lots of love - SFM xxx

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  2. Happy birthday SM! I find your blogs refreshing and honest. You're doing great girl!

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  3. Happy birthday SM! I find your blogs refreshing and honest. You're doing great girl!

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  4. Hope you have a great time at your party! And yeah it sucks that you are paying the bar bill :(

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  5. Happy belated birthday...and congratulations on your sober year which has been particularly challenging, and which you have navigated with dignity and aplomb. I will raise a glass of Fentimans rose lemonade to you tonight, and although you may be the only one not drinking alcohol there, all of us in the soberphere whom you have encouraged and inspired through your blog are with you in mind, if not body! Have a wonderful evening, you deserve it. Xx

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  6. Have a great b-day SM!
    I too have the fear of missing out, wine must be great because everyone is drinking it alot!! The only time that changes is if I am sober at a party and people are stumbly drink with bad breath and sweating. Have a fun time tonight! Hopefully your guests won't go crazy with the booze since you are paying for it :)

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  7. Have a wonderful birthday party SM!. Saw the movie a few weeks ago, yes it was terrific. Last night I met up with a group of friends in a wine bar...first time doing that since I stopped drinking over 2 months ago. I amazed myself because I wasn't even tempted. Ordered an IZZIE (fruit fizzy drinks here) which came in a wine glass. My bill was $3.00 aah that's a first in a wine bar. Told them my story, honestly. Told them about you and the terrific online sober community. Thank you for all the amazing support your blog has given me. I too will be raising soft drink in your honor tonight. ENJOY!

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  8. It does seem a bit unfair, you paying for all that booze and not drinking a sip; but you know, I have a feeling you will be rewarded 10 times more! Just wait and see.

    Have a wonderful time and enjoy the moment, as this is a REALLY BIG ONE!

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  9. It does seem a bit unfair, you paying for all that booze and not drinking a sip; but you know, I have a feeling you will be rewarded 10 times more! Just wait and see.

    Have a wonderful time and enjoy the moment, as this is a REALLY BIG ONE!

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  10. Happy Birthday, Happy (almost) Year, Happy Getting Through!! I did follow the link you had (Dear Friend) and was so struck by this line from one of your readers (about slipping up or giving in to temptation):

    I'm just dancing the inevitable dance on a merry-go-round going nowhere.

    I'm sure you'll handle any temptation (in the unlikely event it occurs)...but if it should -or you have any moment of 'feeling deprived' - just think of that line and all of us on the cyber-sidelines cheering for you!

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  11. I love how you put (secretly) sober year. 12 months ago I had my last alcoholic drink. I didn't know at the time it would be my last, otherwise I'd have got UTTERLY trashed as opposed to just trashed. I haven't felt proud of my achievement....until now. Looking back over the past yr I have learned/been through/experienced so much. I can now say I AM proud of myself. I want to shout it from the rooftops. But can't. So I will share it with you all on here. Secretly. I can't wait for the day you don't have to feel ashamed to declare yourself sober. Big, sober hugs LNM x

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    1. P.s hope you are having a fab party. Look at all the booze people are drinking....and think how glad you are you didn't put all that poison through your body. I often do this at the supermarket - try to tot up how many bottles of wine my body is thankful for not necking by me being sober. x

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  12. It's funny. I never, ever feel ashamed to announce to the world I am sober.
    I find others intrigued and impressed.

    Hope you have a fabulous party.

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    1. Good for you! Great example - why is it that sober to many equals "no fun" or "dried out ex-drunk". Chasing not to put booze into our body you should be proud - I hope in my lifetime drinking may be seen like cigarettes - bad for you and uncool - instead of the opposite.

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  13. Hope the party was fab and bet there are lots of people suffering today!

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  15. Happy everything SM, I love that bit 'zigging while everyone is zagging'
    Love your blogs too. xx

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  16. Hope your party was fab!
    Lucky you, you get to rehash all the goings on from last night without shame or horror and remember it all! I'm sure there will be a few sore heads today, glad you are not one of them.

    Happy sober anniversary!

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  17. Hope you enjoyed your party. I wonder how you felt about serving 'poison' to your guests?? Couldn't you have an alcohol-free birthday party next year.... is this unthinkable?!

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    1. I went to a dry wedding a few years ago and it was not good . Not because everyone was agitating for a drink. Not at all. It was about expectation. It's social and everyone from the half of glass champagne drinker to the five G&Ts at the cocktail hour was told NO. As a point . No one likes to be told what to do. Alcohol has been around for millennia and we'd all never got passed the Middle Ages without it seeing as the water was poisonous and un drinkable.

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    2. My point: one chooses not to drink. No need to get all evangelical about it when others don't have a problem

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    3. I think I've been harsh again. We're I more clever, I'd be a journalist;)

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    4. And stupid. Happy birthday SMxxx

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    5. Meaning I've been stupid for not having said happy birthday at the onset. Cxxx

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    6. I completely agree (I think?! ;-) ) My close friends know I struggle to moderate my drinking and I can be very honest with them. I just wouldn't feel comfortable standing in the staff room (I'm a teacher) declaring my year of sobriety. When the same friends (well, one of them) suggested we ALL have an AF night on a recent week away (to make it fair on me and the other non-drinker) I was the first to say it wasn't necessary. When you do drink, it's unimaginable to think people can be at peace not drinking. And although it is still difficult at times, I can see the bigger picture and that gets me through. However the thought of my friends (close or not) feeling all those feelings I used to when a drink wasn't available would not a happy party make. I am the first to tell people I don't mind them drinking. People seem to apologise for doing so in my company which is their hang up not mine. As long as people don't try to force it on me (which they do, especially when they've had a few) I am happy. Several points in one here, but I hope it makes sense?!. x

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    7. Even my husband said he wouldn't come to my party if there was no alcohol! Sadly, that's just the world we live in....

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  19. With my circle of friends it would be a pretty small party without booze!! Hope you and they had a great evening.

    Justonemore

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  20. I just found your blog, phew! No one the wiser I've recommenced my sober journey. I had about 5 years of sobriety (the time needed to birth and breastfeed two small people). Then I found some amazing ladies who very sensibly could have a couple of large glasses of wine and leave it for a night. At first I would do the same, then two years later our cirle of mummies has grown and so has our intake of wine (only the good stuff lad de-dah). I have read to April 2015 of your journey. Instead of being frightened and ashamed of what I'm secretly attempting to do I'm excited and filled with hope and purpose. Thank you x

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    1. Whoop! Whoop! Glad you fund me - go girl! xxx

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    2. I meant 'glad you FOUND me!' Xx

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