Plenty of advice I’ve received on socialising in early sobriety has been simply ‘don’t go’. I took that advice as much as I could in my first couple of months, but have been trying to re-introduce a bit of socialising back into my life recently for fear of turning into a hermit. As I mentioned in a couple of previous posts, it really sucks the energy out of me and I haven’t had the best time, so perhaps that’s a sign I’m destined for hermithood. Or maybe I’m just trying to do too much too fast.
This weekend we have a couple staying with us from the UK. They’re friends of my partner’s and I haven’t met them before. I feel terrible about it, but I’ve been putting myself first over the last couple of nights and staying in while they go out for dinner and drinks each night. I realise how crazy it is to feel so much guilt simply for doing what’s best for me, but I can’t help but feel bad for not ‘making an effort’ and ‘being a good host’.
I think a huge part of it is because I assume they’ll just think I’m rude, which is frustrating, but I just don’t feel comfortable communicating my situation with strangers – “Hello, nice to meet you. I’m going to be avoiding you all weekend because I’m in early sobriety and having a tough time of it of late and all your holiday boozing around me will fray my nerves to bits. Sorry about that. Here’s your room, let me know if you need fresh towels”. If I had, say, the flu, that would be a different story entirely “Hello, nice to meet you. I’m going to be avoiding you all weekend because I’ve got a horrific cold and a pounding headache. Sorry about that. Here’s your room, let me know if you need fresh towels”.
To be honest I even feel uncomfortable talking to close friends about sobriety some of the time. Today as I skyped a friend I watched her eyes glaze over after she asked how my sobriety was going. I’m so conscious that it’s not a fun topic of conversation for them that I’ll change the subject to save them the pain of having to listen to me whinge on about it for more than 30 seconds. Which is why it is so lovely to have all you fine folk to whinge away to 😉 It really does make a profound difference to know that there are other people out there that get it. Obviously there’s a lot of variation between everyone’s sober journeys, but I think we all get each other on some level or another and being propped up by a fellow sober blogger when you’re feeling fragile is a helluva lot more powerful than by a glazy eyed friend! 🙂
While I do think there is a massive support network to be found through blogging, I do wonder whether I need to extend my support networks in other ways. Ken asked whether I had looked into SMART recovery groups, which unfortunately it doesn’t look like we have here in NZ, so what I’d love to know from other sober bloggers is…
What other support networks are out there that you’ve used? And why were they right for you?
Edit: I’d also be interested to hear if blogging has been your only support network too! And whether you think you need more or that’s enough in itself.