May Long weekend, the unofficial kick off to summer. Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are showing us all how amazing life everyones life is. But you are watching all of this and your weekend doesn’t look like these epic events that are taking place.
Sober Long Weekends
My very first sober long weekend was 2 years ago and it was hell. In fact I didn’t I didn’t make it through sober, I said fuck it. Worst mistake ever, because guess what drinking didn’t make it epic.
Fast forward to when I finally got a month of not drinking and the next sober long weekend rolled around and all I felt like was an outsider. It was the end of summer not the beginning, everyone was travelling or camping or throwing bbq’s and I was crying in bed, binging netflix and feeling like a loser.
Go forward in the journey a bit more to this past weekend. I was watching everyones stories on social media & that old feeling popped up. Everyone was away, everyone was drinking, bbqing, having the time of their lives. Except me. Well that’s what it seemed like on social media.
So I started thinking about my weekend, I did a lot of work, hung out with my husband, ran, went to a fantastic sushi place for dinner, and really just rested, isn’t that what long weekends are for?
Reality vs Social Media
My girlfriend came back from camping and I spoke to her, she was exhausted, hungover and already dreading Tuesday. Her family trip was so amazing and fun on instagram, but what she spoke of was about was the chaos. The drunkeness, the expense, the exhaustion, who didn’t get along with who. It was exhausting to listen to.
My son, who’s weekend was all over social media, came home hungover, grumpy and battled traffic for 4 hours what should have been a 1.5- 2 hour drive home.
I on the other hand though my weekend may not have been “instagram worthy”, but it was hangover free, so when you look at the highlight reel remember a sober long weekend is really a great long weekend. If you are bored and remember boredom is a trigger download the Ultimate Guide What to do Instead of Drinking Here
10 years ago when I was dating a drummer in a band (insert eye roll) and was hanging out with a faster than a soccer mom crowd. I met a woman who was in this circle, she dated one of the guys and I thought we could be friends. I make friends naturally and she was smart, fun, crazy, and extremely successful in her business.
I called her one time outside of the circle and outside of drinking to see if she wanted to go for sushi, and again one other time to go for a walk on the beach. Both times she said she couldn’t she’d been partying to hard and had to catch up on work as shit was hitting the fan and she didn’t want to drink. I hadn’t asked her to go drinking I’d asked her to hit up sushi and go for a walk. I was trying to make a friend but how she took our friendship, it had revolved around partying.
A few weeks later we were out and she was flying high as a kite and made a pass at me and when I refused, things got awkward, and out of control. I left the party, very uncomfortably.
Much later that night she called me up screaming so violently into the phone that she really didn’t need to call she could have just yelled outside from across the bridge. She had no use for our friendship never wanted to go get sushi with me and hated the fact I had a kid why in the fuck would she ever want to hang out with someone like me.
Wow I was stunned, a little hurt but I also realized that was the addiction talking. I put a hard and fast boundary around her. When she called again, which was some weeks later, my son answered the phone (welcome to landlines) and I refused to take her call and just hung up the phone. I have no idea what she wanted.
Why she popped into my head today, I was thinking of Friendships. This was the last friendship with a woman that I tried to make before I got sober. After that I tended to shy away from women friends.
When I got sober I didn’t have a lot of friends, just drinking acquaintances and I was lonely. About 4 months in I voiced out loud to my outpatient group I was lonely and everyone looked at me like yeah and? I was right where I was supposed to be. No one could tell me where to find sober friends.
This is what I teach in Fit and Sober, it’s not about finding sober friends its about creating a life you love and attracting friendships.
So off I went on the quest to find friends, follow up to my Outpatient Program, AA & Refuge Recovery but other than talking about not drinking, I never really clicked with anyone. The other issue for me was all these meetings I attended were fuelled by gossip & drama, which is so not my jam. In addition (this is second hand and just my opinion ) but anyone I know who has gone, made friends and relapsed the friends go away. It’s understandable, everyone needs to preserve their recovery and set boundaries but it just seemed fickle to me. I believe all meetings work, you may meet some great people but it’s about quitting drinking and staying sober, I was looking for friends though.
I have gone to sober retreats and the women were great and some had amazing bonds through this but that’s not what happened to me. I know I’m different, I always have been it’s one of the reasons why I drank, to fit in.
Also remember when setting out to meet people, you can have different groups for different reasons. One or two people don’t need to be everything to you for every reason.
Your inner circle needs to be and more than just the connection of not drinking
So what to do now: my sober list was exhausted almost 6 months into sobriety and I’ve met sober acquaintances but no friends. So I started working on a list of things I love to do and consistently show up.
The gym has been my therapy ( and my job) for years so I chose too take a class ( my choice was spin) and I show up 3 days a week. Guess what I met 2 friends here one is a fitness competitor and one is in recovery (yep)
I craft so I started going to scrapbook meetups
I am currently taking a photography course
I love to bike so I joined a women mountain bike group last summer
I love cats so I volunteered at a cat shelter.
I invested in a business mastermind last year
I joined a business network group
I took a cooking class
I joined a yoga studio
Joined online sober groups
You get the picture, now start your list what do you want to explore, what do you like to do that interests you?
Ok so out of all of this I have formed 5 close new friends, that aren’t in recovery, I have 2 amazing friends that I’ve known for more than 15 years, and really worked on rebuilding my friendships with but I also now have 4 close sober friends, plus a therapist that I can call on when I need to around sober people or recovery support.
Remember real friends don’t care if you don’t drink.
Comment below how you’ve made friends while being in recovery.
Don’t forget to sign up for my F.I.T. (Food/Fitness Inspiration and Teetotaler Tips)
Winter Weather Triggers, are real. The snowy cold days can trigger the romantic notion of snuggling in by a warm fire drinking the evening away, it can trigger the boredom response of being housebound or even the stress trigger of having to cope with kids home from school due to snow for days on end.
Weather triggers happen and here’s some coping tools for your sobriety toolbox.
Dreaming of the perfect winter afternoon evening drinking! Here’s my #1 strategy. Take a piece of paper draw a horizontal line down the page. First Column title the fantasy, second column reality. Take yourself through the evening, what it looks like in the fantasy and the reality do this all the way through to the next morning. Look at the fantasy vs reality.
Stuck inside winter boredom! Ok it’s time to get your ass into gear remember that list you made during good weather of all the things you wanted to get done around your house but it was too nice out. Get to that list! Start a project or take a class, make a vision board, craft, learn to play an instrument, read, catch up on movies, paint a room, sleep, do an at home workout, listen to podcasts, make some meals that you can freeze for easy dinners, plan out your meals for the week, volunteer, go ice skating, check out a different recovery approach ( Smart meeting, refuge recovery, y12sr), start a second income stream, catch up with some old friends that maybe you haven’t seen in a while do to isolation or your drinking, volunteer (food bank always needs help, as does meals on wheels at this time of year, local animal shelters)
Stressed out frazzled, everyone’s at home for too long. This is a big one, and I can’t stress enough the importance of asking for help. Whether it be from your partner, parents, a neighbour so you can have an hour to breathe (even if it’s just to go grocery shopping ON YOUR OWN) . If this isn’t possible, set up a play date with other kids, this can be a good break having other kids in the house. Don’t sweat the small stuff, so what the house may be messier, winter won’t last forever. Breathe
Remember weather triggers are real and to acknowledge these feelings so they aren’t just pushed aside, yes it can be uncomfortable and your skin maybe crawling, but know that drinking never makes it better.