One of the many justifications to imbibe I made as a practicing alcoholic was that drinking was a prerequisite for fun. Ballgames, golf, and dining out were all activities I couldn’t even imagine doing without a beer in my hand or access to the bar. It wasn’t much different for me in early recovery during my first year or two I considered sobriety and boring synonymous. As I matured in my however, new alcohol-free activities began to take the place of the old. I began to enjoy things I never imagined possible even they lacked access to a barmaid, cooler, or at least a flask.
I had begun to enjoy things because they were engaging or fun instead of just a pathway to intoxication. In retrospect this was not surprising, but the fact that I eventually began to enjoy the ballgames, golf, and dining out without alcohol- was. The more I thought about it there is no honest recollection of any of these activities as a practicing alcoholic ever producing any satisfaction, just a means to an end (for an alcoholic, there is just one end). Blackouts, fights, and an empty wallet were standard fare. DUI and incarceration, the loss of friends and the trust of family were also on the menu. I had been lying to myself all those years.
Last night I accompanied a good friend to his favorite traditional yakitori restaurant in LA and had a memorable night. The fun loving cooks celebrate a samurai tradition by constantly thanking their customers in the most loud and proud manner possible. I could only imagine the surprise of walking into this restaurant unprepared because the moment one walks through the door you become the center of the staff’s boisterous attention. The food was great, so was the companionship and I remember every detail. Just good memories, no regrets, and now in recovery I can honestly say that I had a great night. Life after drinking is better… honestly.