It's the day after Christmas and I'm on a plane to Spain to meet up with old friends from Colombia.
These are dear friends and I can't wait to see them. But they are the good friends during the 4-years of my heaviest drinking, and they were there drinking with me. I'll be curious to see if they drink as much as I remember them drinking....as much as me, or if I assumed they were pacing with me or was I setting the pace? I'm never sure looking back.
These are the friends where we stayed for 3 hours at a bottomless champaign brunch because they kept pouring. We had spilt drinks, a crier, and ended up tipping with a counterfeit bill.
They were drinking with me the day before I woke up drunk for work filled with anxiety. I woke up Husband to reassure me I was ok, I felt like I was in a nightmare. I went to work and realized there I couldn't hold a conversation and couldn't function in the real world. I think JT called that state dreamscaping. It was the first time I called in sick to work because of drinking.
They were there when we overstayed our welcome at our favorite Mexican restaurant where one of us was drunk enough to lose his wallet then blame the waiter for stealing it.
They drank road sodas in taxis with me. They always brought two bottles of wine each for a dinner party, because "who are we kidding?"
We cooked feasts together, laughed and laughed at our own expense and of course others' expenses. We kept a warm fire blazing during the cold damp Sundays and drank and ate away the dread of Monday morning.
We rented fincas in the Colombian countryside to cook and drink poolside. There was beer pong but with whiskey. There were morning appropriate drinking with brunch, beers or crisp white wines during the hot day by the pool, cocktails before dinner and more wine with dinner, and any range or repeat of drinks after dinner until some sort of craziness said it was time for bed.
Great memories, yes. Great friends, yes. Great drinkers, yes!
I'm not nervous about being not drinking around them. I'm not worried that I won't have fun. I'm not concerned about our friendships. I am bracing for seeing the disappointment in their faces that I no longer drink. I fear that my sober state will act as a damper to their fun. They are reflective, sensitive and emphatic friends. I don't want them to overcompensate on my behalf.
I'm probably overthinking all of this as usual. Hence while I capture and release my reminders of history and my fears so I won't be caught off guard in the moment and out of my element.
I'm going to Spain to see my friends in a new place. I will eat delicious food, see beautiful sights and art, laugh at my friends' ridiculous stories, make precious memories and most importantly-remember all the details, have no regrets and no hangovers to ruin a day in Madrid.
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