I’m (mostly) back! It’ll take a few days to acclimate into our wonderful mix of chaos and structure here in NJ, but I’m glad to be back.
First sober festival attendance: CHECK
In the few minutes I have before the evening crazy begins, I’ll try to recap the weekend from a sobriety point-of-view.
The first evening after flying into Cincinnati, I joined my brother and his family while they hosted his lab’s post-docs and grad students for an informal taco dinner. Tired from two days of travel and feeling like lounging in my sweats while catching up with my brother, I wasn’t quite prepared to be social and engaged. As those around me grabbed glasses of wine (“You want a glass? No thanks, just water is fine”), I worked on asking questions and really listening.
In the past, I would have been preoccupied with the impression I thought I was giving the room – trying to be bubbly, funny, engaging, and smart… rushing to comment on conversation topics, talking loudly, laughing more than was necessary.
While others may not have noticed, this time I found I was OK taking a back seat, staying quiet, under-sharing rather than over-sharing. This ended up being true for the weekend in general.
Saturday and Sunday were sunny days full of music and touring Cincy with my brother, getting to see his new workplace and their new home. While others in our group kept a steady dose of beer going, I stuck with water and barely missed it. The only times it felt a bit awkward were the happy “Cheers!!!” that kept happening. Empty-fisted me would just give a smile and thumbs up.
Sunday and Monday mornings were happily regret-free, as I joined my niece and nephew for early AM breakfast without the hangover residue. And I flew out yesterday knowing that my memories of the weekend were intact.
Overall, while it was a different experience from previous festivals, I can’t say I missed the booze much. The few moments when I did were either the chilly evenings where a buzz might have helped warm me up, or social settings where I felt awkward without a drink in my hand. Both situations were easy to talk myself out of, and the rewards were immediate.
Proud of myself!
Now, back to the daily grind and hopefully back into a healthier eating/exercising pattern. While I may not have ended the weekend hungover and exhausted, my gut biome and muscles are not happy with the disruption in routine.
Side note: one thing I have noticed since quitting (and maybe thanks in part to all the healthy lifestyle tweaking) – I’m more body-aware, less caught up in my head. Grateful for this shift.