Two Doors Down, They’re Laughing and Drinking and Having a Party

The poetess, prophetess and all around goddess Dolly Parton once sang those words in the headline. And last night, two doors down, they were actually having a party. Unlike the lyrics in Miss Parton’s song however, I was not “crying my heart out and feeling sorry.” I was just annoyed. I mean hi. It was a Tuesday. Like who parties and gets loud on a week night? Oh yeah. Right. Never mind.

After I removed the stick out of my ass, realized it was only 9pm, and laughed with the husband about wanting to move, I calmed down. I figured I kept hundreds of neighbors awake with my drunken shenanigans the least I could do is let our usually quiet neighbors off the hook. Unlike my exploits, they wrapped it up early, clearly out of consideration for those around them. Again, not how I used to party.

When I first got sober and I was living by the beach, I would go outside for a cigarette and always hear some kind of function or party. It was that kind of barbecue, drink wine all night sort of Southern Californian neighborhood. Sadly, I was no longer on the guest list for those sorts of get togethers.  I felt terribly alone those first few months. I left all of my drinking buddies on the East side and hadn’t met many people. Hearing people have fun or looking at pictures on Facebook of my old friends sipping margaritas on a patio made me feel like everybody was having more fun than I was. When I told my sponsor this he said, “That’s because they are having more fun than you are.” He was right. Getting sober and breaking up with my partner of 12 years wasn’t supposed to be fun. But did it mean I was never going to have fun now that I got sober? Hell no.

First of all, I truly believe that fun is subjective. Sure drinking for me was under the guise of “fun” but it never really was that much fun. Unless blackouts and throwing shoes at people is your idea of a party. I wanted to have fun and wanted to be lively and loved and the life of the party. For a few minutes I was but after awhile, the blacking out and shoe throwing would commence. I guess I didn’t really know how to have a good time even though I was always looking for one. And you will never hear me say in a meeting, “sobriety can be fun!’ because sobriety itself isn’t supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to save my life and that life can be filled with fun. But I got sober so I could be happy so that meant I had to find fun in different things. I sort of returned to what I thought of as fun as a kid– going to the movies, petting dogs, roller skating, coloring with my niece. And then there was the new fun in things like always knowing where my phone was or waking up without anxiety. I’ve gone dancing and been to parties and seen concerts sober and it’s all been a good time. Do I have to do those things to make myself seem a fun person? Again, hell no. I’m not terribly interested (anymore) in if anyone thinks I’m boring.

Today, fun for me looks like taking a walk to get an ice cream cone or decorating cookies with my other niece or spending all day at the bookstore with my husband. But let’s hear from you– what’s your idea of fun and how has it changed since you got sober?

9 thoughts on “Two Doors Down, They’re Laughing and Drinking and Having a Party

  1. Man oh man, I can totally relate to this. I’m 4 months in to sobriety #2 and it just seems like people have more fun than me. Of course, I’m still in the middle of hippieville, Vermont, where it’s a perfectly normal and acceptable practice to have a beer with breakfast if that’s what suits your fancy…

    I, too, keep reminding myself that there’s a certain wonderment in not waking up anxious or wondering what went down the night before… that terrible feeling right before you check your phone to see who you talked to or texted… *shudder*

    For fun, now? Well, I’m still working on that some. I write and read and lay low way more than I ever did before. I go to the gym and hang out with my dog and…

    … nope, I’m pretty boring.

    • OMG! I hated the “checking of the phone” ritual too. Awful. Yet another reason to be grateful for sobriety. And good for you for making it through the holidays at 4 months sober. I could barely make my bed at 4 months so I’m impressed. And I think the fun thing takes time. Like I don’t really do big crowds anymore. I used to love going to street fairs and walking around wasted. But now that I’m sober, large groups of inebriated people aren’t really that entertaining–go figure! I went to a festival over the summer and after I raided the food trucks and slurped down some lemonade, I hightailed it out of there. I am goind to Disneyland (I know I’m a nerd) with my family next month and I’m excited about that. Like I said, mentally I’m like a 10 year old.

      • I’m still torturing myself by going to all the same sorts of things I used to go to. It’s like I have to prove to myself that I can be sober and fun… by being miserable at events. Heh. Nah, it’s getting better. My secret weapon? Kombucha! Amazing fermented stuff.. (not alcoholic, mind you… fermented like.. sauerkraut or something)… anyway, it’s tasty and unique and the bubbly fermented taste reminds me enough of my beverages of old that it kills cravings.

  2. I find that being sober helps me to appreciate the small things. Like, the REALLY small things. This Christmas was a good example — El Spouse and I opened gifts (none of which were particularly pricey or spectacular) and made some fantastic food. I took a nice hot bath and spent a lot of time indulging in my most favorite hobby of all time, knitting. And I went to bed happy as a clam. I’m sure for a lot of people, that wouldn’t count as fun, but I thought it was perfect.

    Incidentally, my last two Christmases have been the best I’ve had since I was a little kid. And not coincidentally, they were also my first sober Christmases in about ten years.

    • Ahhhh. A hot bath, great food, time with a loved one and a hobby sounds like a perfect holiday. I hear you about sober Chirstmases. This year was my third and it was awesome. It’s so hard to be merry and bright when your hung over so it’s nice not to worry about that anymore.

  3. You are so good! Funny and honest. I have to get my son reading your blog. He’s twenty-nine and in recovery too, four years sober. A total frigging miracle man. He still struggles on and off with depression and social aspects of recovery. He’s a brilliant introvert. He’d get you. I can tell. I’ll do my best mommy thing on him to see if I can get him to follow you, too. H

    • Thanks. I appreciate that especially coming from you–you’re a great writer! Yeah I get the introvert thing and secretly aspire to be one some day which is hilarious because I’ve often been called chatty and even bubbly. Don’t tell anyone. 😉

  4. As you said, fun is subjective. Some people need to dangle out of airplanes to have a good time, and some get a thrill simply by finding a new friend and having their first conversation last three hours.

    Believe it or not, in sobriety I’ve found activism to be fun. Draining, but fun. I especially love animal rights causes, and most especially domestic animal rights. It’s given meaning to a previously empty and selfish life.

    Companionship? That can be tricky. You won’t like everyone, and not everyone will like you, so finding those things that are fulfilling to you is paramount.

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