Over the Easter weekend I attended dinner at my best friends house along with my other best friend and her family. Every month we rotate hosting dinner in our homes. These two friends are immensely important to me and are part of my support system.
It was noticed by one of them that I had been on edge during the evening and sent me an email, basically checking up on me and letting me know that it was nice seeing me. After talking with my husband about what my friend said, he agreed that I was not my usual bubbly self during the visit. In his words, “you had resting bitch face most of the evening.” He knows better than to say something like that to me in the moment because all hell would break loose. Instead he gave me comforting head scratches and mini neck massages. Neither the head scratches nor massages really worked though.
The moment I walked into the gathering, my friends were mixing themselves margaritas and homemade beer was being poured. I am incredibly grateful to my friend who offered me cola as soon as I arrived but seeing alcohol the moment I walked in triggered me. I retreated into my own little world and didn’t overly engage with anyone.
I knew what was wrong but didn’t want to acknowledge it. I simply wanted to remain invisible until the visit was over. I put myself on a seat at the edge of the room and let my surroundings just play out without much interaction. I caught myself doing something really wonky: repeatedly taking my sweater off and putting it back on. The temperature in my friends house certainly wasn’t fluctuating. I was trying to deal with my anxiety in a really bizarre way that I haven’t encountered before.
I sometimes have a really hard time being around large groups of people, even my friends and their families who I love dearly. When I decided to stop drinking, the noise and commotion of large gatherings now bothers me more than it used to. I am still learning how to manage in group gatherings while sober, especially when alcohol is around.
I didn’t crave the alcohol nor want it so it’s hard to put into words why exactly it set me off. I arrived unprepared without a favourite drink and that is something my therapist and I talked about that I need to do. He also suggested that I get a special glass that I can take along with me to gatherings to drink from. This whole journey has been lessons learned and the Easter weekend experience is no different.
I had a really fulfilling weekend despite the hiccup at dinner. I spent time outside with my dogs and family and I also took my daughter swimming, just the two of us and we had a blast. My heart is full.