Who would think that going to a wedding would be one of the hardest things for this recovering alcoholic to attend.  The gorgeous bride, the handsome groom, the pure joy that is in the air surrounding a new beginning in the couple’s lives. They share their vows in front of their family and friends. The announcement of Mr. and Mrs. and they share a kiss to show their love and connection, followed by their first walk down the aisle as a united couple. Cheers to the happy couple, let the party begin.

The party is the only thing that I would be excited about in the past.  Who cares about the food? Who cares about the people’s lives you can catch up on? Bring on the booze, cocktails and dancing.

There is always that one person who is loud, obnoxious, crazy and falling down drunk; and all of this before the food is even served.  I was that person at many weddings. I thought I was the fun person, the one everyone laughed with. Now I realize that I was that person everyone laughed at, found annoying and obnoxious.

I sit back a watch others and realize that not everyone has to get drunk at a wedding.  That it’s actually not very attractive to be the one that yells out “Whoohoo,” starts the banging on the tables or glasses, demanding that the bride and groom stand up and kiss.  Watching someone else take over that role is only another reminder that I’m on the right track. That becoming sober was a great choice, a super fantastic, celebrate-with-joy kind of decision.

Being in a party atmosphere, seeing the bottles of alcohol lining the bar, the glasses full of foaming beer, the dinner over and the line up at the bar long.  Standing at the bar and asking for a diet coke and recognizing that there is still a part of me that is more comfortable asking for a vodka and diet. Then getting my diet in a red solo cup being yet another trigger for me. Holding on to that glass feeling like an old pair of comfortable shoes.  So I grab a water bottle and carry that around instead.

But the hardest part about weddings isn’t all the alcohol that surrounds me, but all the reminders of who I was, how others looked at me, and how people look at me now.  There is a saying: What other people think of me is none of my business. The problem is that I make it my business. I spend way too much time worrying about what others think or did think of me. My actions today are not perfect but they are my true and honest self. The horses and the personal coaching I received during my teachings to become an Equine Gestalt  Recovery Coach has helped me see my true authentic self and has helped me to let my past go.  When I realize that my past is just that and that my future has yet to unfold, I can only live in the moment, always becoming the person that makes me proud.

We left the reception before the party was over. I woke up without a hangover and without the embarrassment of my actions.  My actions today are not perfect, but they are my true and honest self.  I am yet again so grateful for the change in me that only becoming sober could give me, grateful for realizing that fun comes from within me not from a bottle.