I just got back from a work related trip to Ottawa (which I extended by a few days to include some fun time with my adventure partner). I thought that this trip would be a little difficult as the group of people on the work related side of it are pretty heavy drinkers, but I wasn’t actually anticipating HOW difficult it would be.
With over a year of sobriety and countless outings and situations that I’ve made it through, I thought I had it sort of figured out how to avoid or leave situations when I needed to. This trip though, holy crow… I had a very, very difficult time. It started off great with a “little” (5 hrs plus of driving each direction) road trip to Toronto to see my cousin, only to arrive during a birthday party (for their 1 yr old), and lots of inebriated people. I can wager a bet that my cousin doesn’t even remember what I gave her 1 yr old for a present. After an hour of feeling pretty out of place, we left, went for dinner and spent the night at the hotel and drove back to Ottawa the next day, stopping at lots of fun little places along the way.
The night that we got back to Toronto was the first night that most people were arriving for the meetings, and of course everyone wanted to meet up at a bar in Byward Market (a funky area comprised of a few blocks full of bars, lounges, restaurants, etc). That went ok, I asked the bartender if she could make me virgin mojitos and she made EXCELLENT ones, so I was happy (I’m not a big pop/soda/juice drinker so I do struggle a bit to figure out what to drink when I go out. I like the mixed type of drinks (ie orange juice with 7-up in it), so I usually ask the bartender if they can make something fun and non-alcoholic. I’ve actually had some pretty fun drinks by doing that, and quite a few Shirley Temples lol. The next day after a day full of meetings, the group went to a brewery for dinner, then a martini bar and then a board game place. By the end of the night I was starting to feel a bit edgy, especially after walking with smokers as well (I quit smoking and drinking at the same time). I actually did enjoy the board game place though 🙂
The following night after meetings, we had a group dinner at a place called the Bier Markt. This night almost ended in disaster aka me having a total meltdown. By the time we got there, I was tired, I was hungry, I was tired of trying to decide whether to just order a coffee, tea, or water, or ask yet another waitress if the bartender could make me something fun and N/A to drink. This stupid place had a menu full of beer saturated food. Seriously, my choices were limited to a steak (with the hopes that it wasn’t marinated in beer), a potato, or a portobello mushroom burger. The service was terrible and I felt like running out of there. I felt SUPER anxious and upset but didn’t want to say anything to anyone, or make an excuse to leave (in hindsight I should have). Every single other person in our group was drinking, except for a pregnant one who left about 2 minutes after getting there and seeing the menu. By the time we did leave, I hightailed it straight back to my room instead of going out with the group. I wanted to just crawl into bed under the covers and cry. I mean, it REALLY rattled me that I felt that way. Really rattled me. This is a group of people that I see twice a year, the same group I saw in the Yukon. They don’t care or notice if I’m not drinking. Actually, that’s a lie – a few of them did notice and question why I wasn’t trying the beer at the brewery places.
I did make it through it though, thanks hugely to my adventure partner who is also extremely, EXTREMELY supportive and considerate, and who laid down in bed next to me and held me on that difficult night while the war raged in my head. I am so thankful that I’m out of the relationship I was in when I first quit drinking. What a difference the people close to you can make.
384 days today. ❤