I've started my support group outside the household today. I've had two women in mind who would be good dry friends. We are friends but not super close friends, we hang out in the larger group and meet every couple months for our little book club. They are cool ladies that overall I want to spend more time with but also not big drinkers. E is recently pregnant and EA just isn't into drinking, maybe a glass of wine, but doesn't need to finish it or another bottle afterwards. One of those. "One of those" that I'm so appreciative of to have on my team.
It worked out that the three of us got a little alone time together before a party we were all going to later. EA and I drove together to the mall, I was all over Ikea for new fixings for the apartment and we went to pick up E on the way to the party. I didn't know that was the plan, but it was so perfect for what I needed. I was expecting to ask them to meet up for dinner and tell them then, but this was even better, no set up. I was nervous, I didn't think through what I was going to say exactly or what I shouldn't say. What I did end up saying was, "I need your guys' help tonight. I've stopped drinking and I might need some support around all the drinking..." I shared that it has been a few weeks, that I've been keeping it on the DL and that at first I thought I could just carry on normally minus the drink but that I actually need to figure out new things to do and that I'm nervous about it all.
They asked thoughtful questions that were not prying, talked about their own relationship with drinking and basically put me at ease and they seemed excited to start planning activities that did not revolve around the little expat drinking scene we are drowning in. E is a big crafter and we are planning a crafting night during every few weeks, we talked about exploring other neighborhoods and restaurants, getting dressed up to go somewhere, anywhere that doesn't revolve around the Ace Club.
I was so grateful for them, grateful for this opportunity that fell into place. And so surprised at their excitement to find another friend in me that wanted to break out of the drinking scene too. I haven't really thought much about how it would be for people like E and EA, their partners and the friend circles here are drink centric. I used to be in that center of drink with Husband and their partners along with everyone else, I thought. I really did think stepping out of the circle was stepping into dark isolation. I'm not alone, I've just been opened up to community that has been here all along. One more surprise in this journey and another reminder at how small and self-absorbed booze made me.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. I like myself better for it and have a full life because of it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp