My bags are packed and I’m ready to go….tomorrow morning Hubby will be driving me to Toronto for the ShesConnected conference!
Over the next two days I’ll have the opportunity to meet lots of amazing women many of whom I’ve been Tweeting with for a long time. There will be fantastic brands, discussions, speakers and networking.
This has been a bit overwhelming to prepare for, thankfully I have a clothing sponsor and Hubby offered to drive me in. My accommodations were posing some anxiety for me and then I was invited to stay with 3 other fantastic women so that took care of that!
So here I sit all prepared with time to spare and it dawned on me that there is one aspect of the conference which I would have expected to bother me if this had been early in my sobriety.
This is ultimately a social event and with it comes people consuming alcohol.
In early sobriety I would have been seriously concerned about this, unsure of how it would affect me. I wouldn’t have known how it would feel to be around people consuming the drinks which I simply cannot.
Would I be tempted?
It’s almost amusing to me that these thoughts haven’t even entered my head until now. I’m not being arrogant, I’m still very aware that I am an alcoholic and my sobriety must come first before any event I want to attend. It’s not that I’ve swayed from my path and purpose.
What has changed is my perspective, with time I have learned to value myself and my life in sobriety through God. I am not uncomfortable at all being around people who drink responsibly. There is no reason for me to ever attend a drunkfest again but people have a glass of wine around me isn’t an issue at all.
Because I’m spiritually fit, I can do many things I didn’t think alcoholics could. In this culture I’m surrounded by alcohol, I can not avoid it. It pops up on TV shows, within books, online, in music….I’d have to move somewhere like Fiji, build myself a hut and live forever with no contact with the world. Ummmm not going to happen in this girl’s world.
Just imagining it made me shiver, aside from the thought of the warm weather and beach in my mind.
Not only do I see it as an impossibility, shielding myself from alcohol will eventually lead to failure. I will erupt from a lack of social interaction or go insane.
Each time I face an invitation to such an event, I ask myself what my motive for going is. The Big Book of AA tells me to ask myself:
“Have I any good social, business, or personal reason for going to this place? Or am I expecting to steal a little vicarious pleasure from the atmosphere of such places?”
If I can answer positively then I have no worry left in my mind, as long as I’m connected to God and feeling spiritually fit, I have nothing to worry about. Tonight as I sit here I am worry free and certain that I have something positive to bring to the occasion.
I intend to have a blast and to make sure my fellow attendees, sponsors and organizers do too!
Even seeing that one of the sponsors is a brewery (happens to have been my favorite) and one is a winery hasn’t fazed me, I’ve continued to interact with these brand representatives, enjoying their humor and perspective thus far. My mouth hasn’t watered once, I haven’t gotten the sweats, nor even a glimpse of a desire to drink. I am secure in my sobriety today.
By writing this I hope not only to inform other alcoholics, but also those who are not. Alcoholism is a grave, insidious disease which robs people of themselves and their families of their deserved happiness. There is hope though, I’m proof!
To those who are just beginning and cannot imagine being comfortable in a social situation with alcohol, rest easy and remember that we seek progress rather than progression.
Tomorrow night I won’t be bellying up to the bar, but I will raise my mocktail in toast to all the fantastic people I have the pleasure of meeting.
AA Big Book
After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol. Besides, we have stopped fighting anybody or anything. We have to!