Day 94: Sober “work party” anniversary !

As I buckle up to face the holiday cravings and fears (yay my first Sober Xmas!!), here is a quick post to mention a “big” change that I hadn’t suspected and really surprised me this week.

Three months ago, almost day for day, I flew back from France to the U.S.A, ready to take on the last year of my PhD program and the beginning of my sober journey. I had allowed myself “one last goodbye” drinking evening, which coincided with my arrival date and my department’s “Welcome/Fall reception”. I will skip the details of the evening, which consisted in drinking [FAST and A LOT] just a couple of hours after getting off a 15h fight, while jet-lagged, at a boring/stressful reception, probably embarrassing myself in drunken convo with faculty members (I blacked out at the end of the evening so can’t even remember), then getting properly smashed on a rooftop with friends, stealing other people’s drinks, being a dick, miraculously getting home (thanks to a good friend) and spending the whole next day throwing up and facing my boyfriend’s wrath/disappointment that I chose to get drunk over seeing him after my long trip to France.

Long story short, that evening in September, I drank 1) to get through the yearly event at my university which would usually trigger intense stress, impostor’s syndrome, even severe anxiety over the past five years (depending on how low my self-esteem was that year and which kind of [DRUNKEN] drama I had created with various people {i.e. mostly BoooOOoooys} in the department), and 2) to say “bye bye” to alcohol: I drank so much because I was so scared of letting go and never being able to drink again. Needless to say, I can now see that drinking never helped in any of the ways I thought it did/would, and ALWAYS made me feel worse the next day, with the guilt, shame, headache, harsh inner dialogue. Oh, and not so occasional vomit … Blergh

OK, fast forward three months to this week and my department’s “End of Semester – Holiday Reception”… Yet another moderately stuck-up gathering of academics around a buffet, where many people do get kind of drunk because, well, academics are not the best at social skills and often do rely on the lubrication of alcohol to get the giant broomsticks out of their asses (that’s a french expression, I don’t know if it exists in english^^) 🙂 Oh, and several of them are clearly already alcoholics and have been drinking almost daily for years – some of my friends are. I count myself among this group.

And GUESS WHAT, being sober this time was not even a big deal – by now it’s become “normal”. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on much. I noticed other people were sipping San Pellegrino too. This time, I was more focused on the crab cakes and cheesecake than on the shitty wine (I might be sober but I am still a French snob who grimaces at the sight of a screw-cap wine bottle). More importantly: for the first time at one of these events, I noticed how being sober allowed me to remain calm and composed as I happily chatted to faculty members. — I even confidently had a 30 minute talk with my advisor and a retired SUPERSTAR professor/expert in my field, whom I had just met. This would have been the COMBO FROM HELL a few months ago, and probably driven me to tears (and a drinking/bingeing decompression session in my bed) once it was over.

BUT NOT THIS WEEK 🙂 This week I was clear-headed and answered all the questions with ease and humor and (this is SOOO new for me) was ok with just BEING MYSELF (vs. putting on a show to try and be what I think I should be). The result was a wonderful and hilarious conversation where we really hit it off and my advisor complimented me and made many very nice comments in front of the superstar lady, and I smiled bashfully but also felt like my presence there was legitimate and ok (vs. a horrible masquerade). I really would have been INCAPABLE of this a few months ago and probably would have been hiding in the bathroom after spotting the famous professor, to avoid being introduced to her and having to “say stuff” in public.

Conclusion: all the performance anxiety and stress tied to these academic social events, which I [wrongly] thought drinking helped ease, has VANISHED, The only thing that has changed is that I have STOPPED DRINKING. Ergo, sobriety seems to have helped me build a LOT of self-confidence and an ability to just be, and somehow miraculously entertain the belief that being “me” is enough. And neither freak out nor lose my shit over some imaginary version of what I think I am supposed to be. This felt incredibly liberating and healing, and I am SO GRATEFUL to have been able to compare this event with the drunken-vomity one in September, and note the sharp contrast. This small realization is encouraging me to keep going on my journey and discover what other unsuspected healthy abilities I might develop and strengthen in the process. Long story short: being sober really does seem to help build self esteem and self confidence.

Oh, and it was “fun” to watch my fellow graduate students become drunker and sloppier as the evening unfolded, and I realized that I used to be the worst of us all and was really glad to not have made an ass of myself in public this time. And be the sober one to walk their drunken ass home, not vice versa ^^ Cue smug smile and pat on the back ^^

Hang in there everyoneeee !! xxx Anne

Published by nomorebeer

Learning how sobriety helps you ENJOY life.

29 thoughts on “Day 94: Sober “work party” anniversary !

  1. Oh Anne this is a brilliant post. Isn’t it bizarre how much we have all relied on and used alcohol to get us through social situations (and other circumstances) only now to find out it was the the very thing holding us back? I examined so many things about my life and myself to deal with low self esteem and confidence issues recently, I never once considered alcohol as one of the root causes. How great that you aced your reception .. well done you 😊😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. awww thanks Claire 🙂 Yes, this sobriety thing in wonderful in that it leaves us no choice but to find (and discover) our internal resources… which for me were unsuspected until they began to appear with this AF journey 🙂 I can’t wait to hear about yours !!! xxx Anne

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I’ve spent a lot of time at crappy nights out drinking to make it more fun. It sounds obvious now but I didn’t really realise that’s what I’ve been doing. Learning all the time! 😃

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Chuckle. I loved this so much: “then getting properly smashed on a rooftop with friends, stealing other people’s drinks, being a dick, miraculously getting home (thanks to a good friend)” – bahahaha have to admit that reminds me of my uni days… also:
    “(depending on how low my self-esteem was that year and which kind of [DRUNKEN] drama I had created with various people {i.e. mostly BoooOOoooys} in the department)” – such beautiful bracket and upper/lower case usages, Anne, brings a tear to my eye. 😂🙏👌💗

    So wonderful to hear how awesome this went sober, compared to last time drunk. Bravo, friend. 👏👏👏

    And might I add that it’s hard to remember English is your second language? Hello, blogging wonderwoman!!! 🦹‍♀️ :))

    Liked by 2 people

    1. bahahaha, granted, I went a little overboard with the capslock and the brackets… that’s what happens when I write fast and spontaneously 🙂 You inspire me to refrain from editing !! 🙂 (alsooo my mother is from England and I have always spoken english to her, so no wonderwoman here – just a quasi-woman who does wonder at a lot of stuff but never finds any answers lol ❤ 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah you’re far too humble :)) but okay that explains things a little hehe. I was serious about the brackets and caps though!!!! Loved it, the whole way it was written had me chuckling… nice one Anne. 💗😄

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  3. This is inspiring and love your humor!! I’m so so happy for you and the woman you’re becoming. You’re confident, strong, and ambitious. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post Anne, my my you were a rampant puss head in your day weren’t you😉This post says it all . I had a similar type of revelation at a do in London last night( waking up sober at 7 feels great by the way) . Strange but it almost feels that this drinking season may well reinforce rather than threaten our sobriety. Brilliant stuff Anne x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. whoaaaaa, Jim-induced LIGHT BULB MOMENT ! It hadn’t occurred to me that this drinking season might actually be a huge help and teaching (vs. a huge ordeal and challenge)! It’s s great to have you here to brainstorm and reframe this thing before it actually “starts”… (though maybe it already has?) I already feel completely different about Xmas than I did a few days ago, the dread has been replaced with curiosity. Now I’m almost like “bring it ooooon, drunken Santas! You smell and look awful and I will be up tomorrow morning at 7 to open all my prezzies so there!” (ok, more like 9:30, but we can’t all be as punctual as Jim now, can we ^^) xxx Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Anne! This is really wonderful! I’m happy for you, and this truly is inspiring. This is so candid, raw and real. I have just started my “Don’t Drink in December” Challenge, and so far it’s going really great. I might even keep at it after December. Reading your blog, and others really helps me along. 🙂

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    1. Hi Amy ! Thanks for commenting and wooOoow, congrats on picking December rather than January to start your challenge: biiiig respect!!! Once you have survived this, you will definitely be able to survive anything 🙂 Keep it up, I’m looking forward to reading your posts too ! xxx Anne

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  6. Great post Anne! I could picture you at both events so clearly! You were fabulous this time! I was very bored at my work Xmas do this weekend – much like Claire said above but I was feeling good with you wanting to high 5 you at your event! 👏👏⭐️⭐️💞💞

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bravo Anne,
    What a delightful post. Sobriety is like a hidden world. When you’re drinking, you hear rumours and occasionally glimpse it, but a few vino’s later and it vanishes.
    One of the best things about not drinking is that you start to develop very clear boundaries, like you mentioning you had had enough and wanted to go. Through those boundaries comes inner strength and clarity. Once again, bloody great effort.
    And that ‘imposter syndrome’ is a tricky one to shake. I have very successfully friends in their 40’s, CEO’s, business leaders, award winning muso’s and comedians, and they still struggle with it. It’s lead a few of them back to drinking. Be kind to yourself, embrace the imposter, have a coffee with it every now and then, check in with it, take it for the occasional walk, just don’t fight it or ignore it. The ego is a fragile thing. Eventually, hopefully, it’ll get bored and drift off to greener pastures. Similar to ones approach to alcohol. Go get em oh wise one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wowowow thank you – it’s true, I keep telling everyone “be gentle to yourself”, and then I’m the first to resist the inner impostor with all my strength 🙂 Must turn that habit around. Must stop fighting. Will invite impostor for coffee, and invite inner critic too, and we will all have a nice party and hopefully (mainly because there will be no drunken fist-fighting) no one will get hurt and everyone will learn how to get along 🙂 I absolutely love the image of sobriety as a hidden world… I am so glad to have set a foot in it and am eager to see what mysteries lie ahead 🙂 Thanks for commenting (and for your wonderful blog!) !! xxx Anne

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