I ran into an ex of mine the other night. To say the relationship I had with him was toxic is an understatement. We nearly killed ourselves being together. But that was a few years back now. So, I’m at a bar and.. he’s there. We haven’t seen each other for probably a year or so. And I’ve changed. For the better. I’ve worked hard and focused and buckled down and… yeah. I’m not the same person he dated two years ago or bumped into a year ago, even. I think 2020 changed a lot of people, hopefully for the better.
So, he sees me, greets me, hugs, great. I’m having a beer. I did 95 days of full on sobriety a handful of months ago and it changed how/what I drink, again for the better. I am much more in control of my drinking habits now. And that is an amazing, wonderful thing that I’m extraordinarily proud of, because I fought for it and worked at it and it wasn’t always easy, but I’m in a much better place now. He buys a round of shots for the table. I decline. I don’t really do shots anymore. I don’t want to. They typically don’t taste good and I don’t need liquor in me, especially if I’ll be driving.
(Please note, I love alcohol. This is in no way bashing drinking or booze. Right now at the bfs place I have 2 make you own 6 packs of beer I can’t wait to try, and two bottles of wine waiting for me. And I fully plan on enjoying every sip of all of that – minus what I decide to share with him. I bought my favorite brand of rum a few weeks ago to enjoy. I drink. I just drink differently)
I totaled my car and completely rerouted my life a few years ago getting a DUI/OVI. It was a mistake. It was dumb. I’m solely responsible for it. I made bad choices, they had bad consequences. My ex kept bringing it up the other night. He was at the bar I was at the night of my accident. I guess he holds himself responsible. I don’t. He didn’t hold a gun to my head and force me to take those shots that night. He didn’t take my phone from me and deny me access to lyft or uber. I chose to drink to much, I chose to drive that night. That’s all on me and I never have and never will displace any responsibility onto anyone else, ever.
He again pressed for us to do a shot together. I again, politely, declined. He got angry and said I wouldn’t do a shot “because I was scared.” And that so struck me. I didn’t have time to fully unpack it there at the bar, but I’ve been digesting it for a few days now and… no.
No. It’s not that I don’t do shots now because I’m scared. It’s that I use to do shots because I was. I was scared of not drinking enough and being seen as a stick in the mud, of not keeping up, of not being cool. But I, in the most solid way possible, simply do not give a single shit about that, at all, anymore so.. no, I’m not doing shots now simply because I don’t want to.
I think being in control can look like acting out of fear to people who live a very reactionary lifestyle. I choose moderation because it feels better. I love not having hangovers. I love not (thankfully) waking up in time to roll over, vomit on half of my belongings, before passing back out. I love not slamming my car into a tree. I love not stumbling into my house at 4am, disturbing my family on multiple levels. I am not afraid of those things, per se, but especially after 3 months of existing as a complete non-drinker, I actively, mindfully, choose better for myself, regardless of how it appears to others, because I’m not afraid, or even concerned, about what they are thinking.
My post-DUI life has been a lot. Court dates, drunk camp, lots of money. I don’t think fear is stopping me from getting shitfaced and trying to drive home, I think having learned lessons, having gone through it, having put my family through it… it’s not fear, it’s love. I love myself too much now to do that. When I was out 7 nights a week, sleeping 3 hours a day, living off sugar free redbull and liquor… I didn’t love me, at all. And I see that now.
I know this post isn’t clever or funny or profound. But it’s real. And I needed to get it out. I’m glad I ran into my ex. I’m glad he’s the exact same. I’m glad I’m able to have perspective. I’m delighted at seeing my growth. I’m proud of me. (Also, yesterday was my birthday)