Kate was at the bar. She ordered a Diet Coke. Her friend Cindy ordered her seventh beer.
Kate had only been sober for eleven months. She drank rivers of Diet Coke while Cindy kept knocking back Michelob after Michelob. But Cindy was an old friend and she still wanted to spend time with her – even if that time was spent at a bar.
Where Do You Fit In?
It took about a week for Kate to find out Cindy had been talking about her to their old friends. She heard rumors that Cindy was angry with her – apparently she didn’t like the new “sober Kate.”
According to Cindy, the new Kate…well, she wasn’t fun anymore. She was judgmental. She got mad when she had to carry Cindy out of the bar and put her into a cab because she was too drunk to walk.
The news hit Kate hard. She sat with herself and thought – it was actually true. She did get mad when her friends were too drunk to get themselves home. “Maybe I am being judgmental,” she thought.
Kate’s sober friends said it was a phase that would pass. As she went out for ice cream after a meeting with these new sober friends, she felt conflicted. She’d gradually begun to realize that her old friendships revolved around drinking, and she didn’t want to be that person anymore. But she wasn’t sure what she had in common with these people either, other than that they were downing ice cream cones instead of beers.
Jackie was about twenty years older and three years sober. Kate decided to call her up one night for advice.
“I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere,” Kate said, starting to cry.
You might hope that Jackie had some magical words of wisdom that would make it all go away – but she didn’t.
“Yeah, it’s rough,” she said. Jackie had certainly been through her own struggles. She’d broken up with her long-term partner shortly after she got sober.
Jackie said, “Kate, here’s the thing – if your friends were just about drinking, they weren’t really your friends.”
Leaving the Past Behind
A few weeks later, Kate got a disturbing text from an old friend. Cindy had been at a party the night before talking about Kate’s drinking days…telling stories that Kate thought were just between the two of them. Now everyone knew about Kate passing out in bar bathrooms and how Cindy saved her from going home with men who were beyond sketchy.
Kate didn’t want to remember. She wanted to forget – to pretend that woman was a different person who had nothing to do with the woman she is today. The new Kate.
She knew it wasn’t going to be easy to make peace between the old Kate and the new one, but by building a solid sober support system, she believed she could do it. And so can you.
Additional Reading: Finding Your Own Balance in Sobriety
Image Source: iStock