Bowing out of social invites is hard. Especially with people you used to drink (a lot) with. I’m still sort of deciding how I want to put it when asked me to come over and hang out. “We’ll have some wine” (too much wine) “and hang out.” (get drunk) On the playground isn’t where I really want to get into a discussion about my drinking or the reasons why I quit.

I discovered yesterday that saying, “I’m taking a break” results in the “Are you crazy?” look from drinking folk. Well, let me clarify. Folk who drink like I used to drink. I don’t think people who have a casual relationship with alcohol care either way. However. It’s really uncomfortable to try to explain while pushing a pair of four year olds on swings. It went like this:

She: “Hey! You and the family should come over for dinner over the xmas break! We’ll make pizza and have wine!”

Me: “Well, we’re pretty busy, and I’ve been taking a break from drinking.”

She: “A break? From drinking? Why would you do that?

Me: “Well, it’s pretty expensive, and I was just feeling like I needed a break…”

She: “Well, your husband can still drink can’t he? Is that allowed? Or is he on a break too?”

Me: “Well, no he’s not on a break” (he’s the one glass and fine type by the way) “but we’ll see.”

I can’t really covey the confused, baffled, almost offended look on her face here. Kind of like she was smelling poop and sucking on a lemon while trying to figure out the answer to 219 + 26. I’m sure I had a similar look, trying to say no without hurting her feelings. Maybe I should have just been honest.

She: “Hey! You and the family should come over for dinner over the xmas break! We’ll make pizza and have wine!”

Me: “Oh, no. We could not possibly do that. I quit drinking because it was ruining my life. Coming to your house would be one of the most dangerous things I could do right now because you are a lush, just like I used to be. But thanks though.” DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!

It brings up the feeling that I have to sort of weed through people who aren’t good for me. Not that they aren’t good people, just that they aren’t good for me. And also the feeling that these sorts of friendships will naturally fall by the wayside, that there really isn’t a need to force the issue. And that I have a choice in the matter.

I’m the sort of person who, when faced with a tough social situation, always makes it work for the other person. Even to my own detriment. I will make myself hurt, or sad, or uncomfortable- take the blame when it’s not my fault- just so someone else doesn’t have to suffer. And I am terrible (terrible!) at standing up for myself. I’m a *gasp!*…. people pleaser! Now that’s a shocking quality in an alcoholic, hmmmm? I am also bad at asking for help. (The two go hand in hand I think) And then, joining our couple…saying yes when you really mean no! A trifecta of personality flaws.

So, I’m curious. How do you handle situations like this, especially so early in sobriety?