Ah, May Long. The prototype binge drinking occasion of my past. A weekend to drink as much beer as possible. A time to get falling-down drunk, dip into malnourishment, think it was hilarious, maybe cry about a bunch of drama, and then suffer post-shit-show depression on Tuesday, because of course I was getting day-pissed all day on Monday, too. By Wednesday, though, I’d be feeling a bit better, convince myself it wasn’t that big of a deal and be ready to rock & roll again. Repeat cycle of feeling like a piece of shit.
I shit you not, one year my friends and I drove out to the camping destination mid-week before hand and BURIED beer like it was the Knights Templar treasure because we heard the police were going to be dumping alcohol or something..(we were minors). Even into my later 20s though, no matter the what/where/who of the weekend, it was always about alcohol for me. At the time I didn’t recognize that, and if I did, I definitely wouldn’t have admit to it.
To this day I continually try to understand WHY for my entire teens and 20s I had this misunderstanding of what “fun” actually meant. Why did I associate the words “party” or “celebrate” with alcohol consumption? There was no question about it for me. The phrase “I’m not drinking tonight” was literally not a thing. I never uttered those words and I was bewildered and totally judgie (read: uncomfortable, insecure, jealous) when someone else did.
Somehow I am now approaching my sixth sober May long weekend. Tons of people still can’t fathom how one experiences and enjoys a token party weekend without any booze whatsoever. Sometimes I can still barely believe that this is my reality now, but IT IS and it FUCKING RULES.
I recently wrote about examining the five sensory experiences that appeal about any situation as a way to break down the real reasons why the situation is enjoyable. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch sensations, along with the emotions that come with all of it, AND, so importantly WHO YOU ARE WITH, are the things to focus on. Then, add on things like replacement beverages, favourite things (clothing, gear, journal, pyjamas, whatever) and TREATS of any kind, and you are setting yourself up for success.
If you’re in a situation where you may find that everyone is drunk and annoying you, have a back-up activity or place to escape for a little bit. Think ahead about how you want your weekend to be spent. When I was a drinker, alcohol consumption was treated like an activity or an event – sitting around getting wasted for 72 hours. Don’t get me wrong, I intend to do a lot of relaxing this weekend, but I don’t want to sit around in camping chairs the entire time! Make a list of some things that would make you really happy to do and that would leave you feeling fulfilled. Here are some of the things I will do over the course of my cabin weekend
- have at LEAST one solid nap on the porch
- 2 runs (Saturday, Sunday)
- Finish A Man Called Ove
- Read a chapter in Meb for Mortals
- guided meditation Sat, Sun & Monday
- cold water dip Fri eve and then Sat, Sun, Mon mornings
- one 30 minute yoga sesh
Another list I have made is for packing all my favourite getting weird outfits and campfire clothes, favourite jammies and anything I need so I don’t freak out about being “out of routine” from being away from home (highly sensitive person problems).
It always seemed like a good idea to (try to) quit drinking the Tuesday after the long weekend. I knew depression, shame, regret and chaos were coming, but it wasn’t enough to deter me. I didn’t know how to be a sober person, and why would I have? We aren’t taught that! Society celebrates alcohol and puts it on a pedestal while shaming other abused substances. I just heard on the radio about a bunch of parks down south that now allow people to drink alcohol in public, and this is to “encourage people to spend time outside”. As if people can’t fucking go outside without drinking??! What in the actual fuck.
For people who can’t (don’t, won’t, whatever) moderate, not drinking is actually easier when you give it a chance. I can’t even wait to get away for the weekend and get sober May long #6 under my belt. Let me know if you need a hand with any of this shit cause it’s not easy and it definitely doesn’t come naturally to most of us in this society!