Yay Sobriety


This happened.

My mother, father,
sister and her boyfriend,
my husband and children
were sitting in a nice restaurant
to celebrate my birthday.

Some of you know
I have chosen
to not imbibe the fermented fruit of the vine,
and you also must know
that this puts me in the minority
of the adult population.

So I, my daughter, and son
sipped on our water,
while the five other adults drank,
two of them to excess.

I attended to my children,
enjoyed giving them bites
of delicious food,
sharing my salad and entree with them,
engaging them in conversation.

My husband,
bless his heart,
and to his credit,
did make an effort to engage with me
between sips of beer,
and we exchanged some pleasant words
in the course of the dinner.
He only had two beers and a glass of champagne.
Surely, this is moderation, is it not?

But inside, I felt lonely.
This was supposed to be my birthday celebration,
and the adults were focusing on their booze,
becoming loud, intoxicated…

I found myself looking around
at the others in the restaurant,
wondering about their conversations,
guessing that they were surely
more interesting
than what was unfolding at my table.

My family,
with its history of alcoholism,
couldn’t help itself.
The alcoholism had to follow us into this dinner,
even though the guest of honor
doesn’t drink.

What would you do,
if you felt lonely at your birthday dinner?
Would you have put your foot down?
Would you have said something?
Would you have withdrawn?

I tried to be kind and present,
but I couldn’t help feeling wistful.

Afterwards my sister was belligerent,
verbally aggressive…
because this is what happens when she drinks too much.
She yelled, gestured,
said she didn’t need anything from anyone,
and passed out in my bathroom.
She has done this many times before.
I wish I could help her,
but I know that I can’t.
She needs to help herself first.

And now, more than ever,
I see that my sobriety,
my clarity,
my lucidity,
my health
is one of the greatest birthday gifts
I can offer to myself…
and to the world.

Yay, sobriety.

9 responses »

  1. Your ability to stay focused on your path (of sobriety, yoga, meditation, awakening!) is amazing. That can’t be easy to do when in the company of your family, and all the stories from the past that accompany them. Happy Birthday, Lorien. x x

  2. first: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! I love reading what you write; you’re always giving these gifts to the world, I hope this is a beautiful year for you!

    This is also my birthday weekend! It’s my 30th, and I love that you wrote this, because yesterday I was contemplating how central drinking is to our celebrations as a culture! I have a drink here and there but I don’t try to get wasted. My “I’ve had enough” is where a lot of people are just getting started. It’s a funny expectation that milestones should be celebrated by drinking until you can’t remember anything.

    (My big celebration excess is eating. This has been a sushi and pizza and cake/cake/cake weekend, and I have hit my limit!)

    As for your question, what would I have done…
    Sharing our celebrations is a mutual gift. I honestly relate a lot to your response and likely would have done the same: accepted that it was what it was, acknowledged that it isn’t my responsibility to change others, and made the best of the occasion for myself. I’ve been celebrating in all kinds of ways — one of those ways was staying up reading Ender’s Game all night! For me, that’s a fabulous gift to myself. And then I have those celebrations that include others and all the dynamics they bring. Keep celebrating in ways that make you feel good, and revel in all your natural gifts!

    • Thank you friend. I appreciate your words and your wisdom. And happy birthday to you! When is yours exactly? Excellent advice “Keep celebrating in ways that make you feel good…” yes! Thank you.

      • I totally get it. You are not alone! I really know how it feels to be the only sober one in a crowd … my life hase been populated by addicts. I still feel like the weird one but I just know that I am doing the right thing. Lots of love your way!

      • Thank you so much Christina. It feels good to know that I am not alone. And keep listening to your inner knowing–your body, mind, heart, spirit and the whole universe have only to gain from your choice to be clear, healthy, and present. ❤ ❤

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