Made it nearly a week already. People tell me the first week is the hardest since you’re still reckoning with the cravings. Then it’s supposed to get easier. But so far I’m surprised at my resolve. The temptation is there but not nearly as overwhelming as it has been in the past.
Case in point, I’ve been hanging out at a galpal’s place most evenings playing board games with her and her people and they like to drink alcohol. Last night they each cracked open either beers or wine while I was dominating the Monopoly board. Then we moved onto the game Sequence to play as teams where she and I further dominated. hehe All the while I was cracking open my Schweppes black cherry sparkling seltzer water and guzzling it the way I might a Busch Light (which they had present). Didn’t bother me. Didn’t feel tempted beyond that. It was fun remaining in control and maintaining a clear enough mind to stay on my game so that I could play competitively, as I so like to do, it having been several years since I’ve talked anyone into playing board and card games with me (my former not being into that sort of thing, preferring instead to lounge around watching television).
When I left there around midnight, I drove to my new regular bar which had only a couple people inside. Habits are habits. Went in and ordered an orange juice and water. Realized my former’s former (the mother of his child) was the lady sitting down the way and we began chatting. Told her what I was up to and even she agreed that it does feel nice to leave alcohol alone. And that’s what been interesting about this: so many drinkers I regularly interact with seem honestly happy to see some of us break away from that lifestyle, even if they can’t or don’t wish to. I’m not interested in encouraging anyone else to follow along with me in this and am content reining myself in whether they choose to do the same or not. But most of them seem genuinely supportive of my decision, even as they order and consume shots and beers in my presence.
What I’ve found particularly interesting is this new-found perspective where I get to observe them with a clearer, undiluted frame of reference. I get to listen to them tell me about the problems they’ve gotten into with alcohol, from DUIs to bad sexual decisions, and I’m able to observe them from a point that feels a bit removed, like a new perch. I get to watch as they tell me one thing yet act out another with whomever they’re interacting with, stating to me that they know something isn’t a great idea while going ahead and pursuing it anyway. That’s been a bit of a trip. Makes me wonder why we do that. How we can know something isn’t right for us and yet succumb to it anyway. Why? Because we’re lonely? Because it’s simply something to do to pass the time? Because it’s a habit? I just watch and listen now.
Not all are supportive though. Met a couple haters along the way. One is a bar-buddy who makes fun of my and others’ attempts at quitting drinking, denouncing it as a waste of time and declaring that we will fall and fall hard. But who is he? A 50-year-old man who regularly sits at that bar and oggles the young women while drinking himself into a state that I’m surprised he’s able to drive so far home in. He has no faith in our attempts because he has no desire to follow suit and doesn’t wish to someday be the odd man out. That seems pretty typical from those who voice ridicule at the idea of quitting drinking — they are clouded by selfish intentions.
For example, another man, this one very old whom I originally thought was a nice Grandpa-like man turned out to be a corruptive influence. He is selfish and cares more for his own jollies than the welfare of the younger people he chooses to surround himself with. He was the only one to try telling me that I don’t have a drinking problem and to text and call me offering to give me rides and even to buy my drinks if I’d just come provide him company at the bar. He and I are barely on speaking terms anymore since I’ve had to repeatedly check him for this bullshit. I see through it. And once he realized the depths of my stubbornness on this matter, he became rather creepy, saying he knows which gym I attend and wants to join. I asked him not to, yet he keeps bringing it up. The man can barely walk and keeps making inappropriate sexualized comments toward me which I’ve gotten onto him about several times. But he wants to watch me, wants to see me, wants to somehow maintain a connection, going so far that he’d violate my stated wishes and try to pursue me to my gym. That pissed me off. Told him that, twice. Then I walked away and ceased contact. Here he is, a 70+-year-old man who’s married with children older than me, trying to corrupt me because it suits his own fancy. That’s rude and wrong on various levels. Disgusting is what it is, plain and simple. And I tell him so very directly. I tell him he’s my elder and not my peer and ought to act like it. But the barscene is the land of perpetual adolescence. It’s the place where selfishness reigns and where bad influences find refuge.
When I walked past that old man last night while leaving, he was shaking enough to knock over his bottle. Tried hard not to look in my direction. Very sad that a man lets himself get to such a state, preoccupied with the life of a woman more than half his age, pursuing as if he’s still a young man with the same sort of charms to offer. Quite honestly, it’s pathetic and disturbing. I keep wanting to say to him: “Go home old man to your wife. Leave the youths uncorrupted by your influence since you’re not about shit anymore.” He’s made his money and lives rather comfortably. He’s told me of his life and compared to my own it sounds charmed. And yet he, of all people, chooses to encourage young people to take themselves down rather than be an uplifting and helpful influence. That’s no good. But I see through him. And I now walk past him.
People like him are the reason why I’ve lost so much faith in older generations over time.
And if he does pursue me to my gym, my trainer/the owner is already made aware of the situation and won’t stand for that junk in his place of business. I’m half-expecting that old man to show up in my apartment’s parking lot one of these nights since he’s given me rides home before. He may be lonely, but he’s going about seeking attention in all the wrong ways. He’s completely lost any respect I might’ve had for him. He could find ways to be useful and helpful but instead he chooses to mire himself in self-pity for reasons I don’t understand. He epitomizes that which I disdain and wish to never, ever become. The man has a Master’s degree and years of experience teaching and farming, and yet he’s sunk to this. Why he’s set his sights on me is anyone’s guess. Claims I remind him of how his wife used to look, but that’s still no good reason to act as he does or to say the things that he does. Everyone around here knows of him because he’s that big of a barhound, dating back probably a couple decades or more. Not about anything else other than entertaining himself to death and encouraging others to do the same so that he might benefit from basking in their company.
That’s a sad way to end up. Especially when one has lived a fulfilling life by their own admission.
I find it a bit disturbing that someone could listen to me cry about what all I’ve been dealing with and then still try to further corrupt me anyway. That’s heartless, and he has to know it deep down. Perhaps that’s why he started shaking last night when I walked by. Either way, I refuse to be like him and his ilk. An elderly man-child is what he let himself become, and undoubtedly behind his pout he recognizes this truth.
Examples such as this reinforce my decision to remain sober. I wish to be better than that, to have more of value to offer than that. I’ve experienced enough corruption to last me a lifetime already.