Today is my 20th day sober. (mental applause!) I was really struggling last night. Yesterday I kept myself insanely busy, working out, organizing, writing, etc. By the time my husband came home from work the last thing I wanted to do was cook and mess up the three day extravaganza of organizing the kitchen. It was in spotless order! All I wanted to do was go out to a nice dinner, which I could NOT picture doing without a glass of wine. The husband was exhausted and hungry and wanted to just go somewhere. For him, it’s easy peasy to go out and not drink. I was conflicted between wanting so badly to go out, but knowing it would be hard for me, and wanting to please him by just toughing it out. So we went.
We went to a place where I used to go after work and have wine and sometimes food by myself. The bar is super cozy and the food is awesome. At the time, I was living in an adorable little duplex on my own, during a period of time where I was new in my career, newly single and nursing a broken heart. My cousin and best friend was the bartender there, so it was a perfect way to grab dinner and drinks while socializing with her. I love this restaurant and rarely go there anymore because she doesn’t work there now, and I don’t live in that little duplex anymore. It holds fond memories, but I also associate it with the soothing comfort of an expensive glass or three or four of red wine. However, they have a gluten-free menu, and the husband is trying out the gluten-free thing to see if it is the cause of some symptoms he’s been having. So we went.
I was totally anxiety ridden about ordering, without ordering wine. I was imagining the awkward moment where the server would ask, “can I get you a glass of wine?” and having to say no and order something “lame” (my mind’s adjective) like tea or mineral water. White knuckles were in full effect. When we arrived we were told it would be a half hour wait and I had that panicky feeling like, what the hell would we do for a half hour if we couldn’t get a drink at the bar while we wait!!!?? But then a spot opened up and we sat down. Whew.
When our server came over, turns out it was a girl who I’ve known since childhood. I don’t know her well, but our dads worked together for years when we were kids. I see her once in a while around town and our families give us news about each other. I happen to know that she is in recovery. She actually managed a sober living house years ago that my brother went to, and in fact she had to kick him out at one point for testing dirty. Since that time, she asks about him when I see her. She has, as far as I know, stayed sober since going to treatment almost ten years ago and has totally turned her life around. I immediately felt a sense of relief that she was serving us. When she asked if I cared for a glass of wine, and I ordered an elderflower spritzer, (delicious by the way), I still felt mildly awkward but so much less than I otherwise would have.
This is a small thing, but it felt huge. It felt like grace. It helped me get through the witching hour and come out sober this morning. And for that I’m so grateful.