Family Holidays, Weddings, Graduations and other gala Family events. Naturally, a topic which frequently arises at discussion meetings is this problem of how we handle family or neighborhood gatherings, or picnics featuring ribs and all the fixin’s and ice-cold beer, birthday celebrations and family graduations and anniversaries, baptisms, first communions and confirmations, national holidays. Some are long-time family and neighborhood traditions, sometimes reflecting a “must attend” modality. And maybe you’re new in the Program and still developing your confidence levels. You may be threatened by “publicly” refusing the offering of a ”cold one,” the pitchers of freshly-made margaritas and ice-cold sangrias. You think, “What will they say?” “Gee, don’t you like what I made for my guests?” “You used to really pig-out on this? Are you sick?”
Yes, you are sick. You developed the disease of alcoholism and when you imbibe to excess (because you can’t drink any other way), your personality abruptly changes. So, upon entry to the party, tell ‘em “I have a cold and don’t feel well”, or “I’ll take care of it, you take care of your other guests.” Anything is OK and since the object is to simply get a glass in your hand: “No, not yet, I need to get a glass of water, or soft-drink," or, "Not yet, I have to check with the baby-sitter, one of the kids has a cold.”
These gatherings, so personal in nature, usually will feel endless and maybe animated raising your anxiety level. What to do? Easy, use your cell, go off in a corner and call/text your sponsor or a fellow “Program member.” Sometimes you can help the hostess by cleaning up, washing dishes, carrying more chairs outside, and so forth. You’re just physically separating yourself from the gala activity going on around you.
Here are some suggestions for those gatherings “you must attend:”
- Always have a cell phone and use it
- Never go without having a car to escape
- Arrive close to dinner being served and leave after desert
- Use the excuse that “We have a neighborhood annual picnic we must make an appearance at”
- Look for opportunities to remove yourself from the action … wash dishes, help with serving/clearing the tables.
The point is to reflect your new personality and way of living. No need to be ashamed. If you’re obviously not drinking, they probably will ignore you anyway.
TO BE CONTINUED, Jim A./Covington, Kentucky