Triggering the trigger

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 šŸ™‚

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. ā¤


  1. Dewy · November 14, 2017

    Congrats on finding an adventure buddy. All good , you made it. Be proud of that šŸ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hurrahforcoffee · November 14, 2017

    Well done on getting through that. Those triggering moments can be absolute hell to get through. It’s really hard when you are out of your comfort zone and so many different things are shouting at you in your head. Thank you for sharing it with us. I have a holiday coming up and I’m looking forward to it but dreading it too. Need some pre-planning…to bullet-proof myself:)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. saoirsek · November 14, 2017

    Well done, it gets easier but I still felt anxious for you even reading it. Seriously , you are doing brilliantly, now do something nice for your 1 year anniversary S x

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Untipsyteacher · November 14, 2017

    Hi Donna,
    I too felt anxious for you reading this. That was a lot of drinking time to be around. That would have been draining and exhausting. I am really happy you had your travel buddy.
    Big Hugs on 384 Days!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • shehidbehindtheglass · November 14, 2017

      Thank you Wendy. It really was draining, and really really frustrating seeing how very few options (how unfriendly it is!) for non drinkers!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. MilesAwayGrrrl · November 19, 2017

    Well done! Like the others said reading this just made me feel anxious and could totally understand all the emotions, and also not leaving, when I/you really should have. A fear of being ‘defeated’ in some sense, of not being able to have ‘normal’ fun, with ‘normal’ people where as in reality, a lot of people put in a situation like this (not alcoholics) go ‘hmmm, not for me’ and leave.. go to the cinema.. order room service.. ! But you’re sober, you got through it, and these shitty shitty times do may it easier to do the right thing FOR YOU in the future. xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • shehidbehindtheglass · November 23, 2017

      You’re so right – there are others that WOULD say “hmmm not for me” and leave. I would hope that if I’m in the same situation again I would do just that and find something else fun to do. The ironic thing is that in the past I would excuse myself early so that I could go back to my room and drink a bottle of wine by myself šŸ™„ lol.


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