Breeality Bites

On eight years of sobriety: the wonderful and terrifying reality of an alcohol-free life

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By dream about it, I mean I still have nightmares about it. In these dreams, I am either getting smashed as fast as I can and no one can stop me, or I am unaware that I'm an alcoholic until long after I've downed several drinks and realize that I'm supposed to be sober. I've been having dreams like this since I quit drinking, and while I hope they go away someday, I doubt they will. If anything, they are reminders of how fucked up my life was with alcohol in it.

I should mention that I do smoke weed from time to time. I still consider myself a sober person; that is my own choice of language, and I stick by it. I may smoke weed every day for a week and then not touch it for a year. I'm no expert, but I am aware that my actions and my relationship to marijuana are not on an addictive level. I've never smoked weed and started a fight at a bar where I ended up throwing pint glasses across the room and not remembered any of it the next day. My weed smoking has never threatened to dismantle my family. My minimal weed consumption has never been the reason I've been fired from a job, dumped or lost a friendship. But alcohol has.

Though I've gotten used to it, there is still a moment of mild discomfort and panic when I am in a new social situation and alcohol is involved. Like last weekend, when I was at a house party for some friends of my boyfriend and just about everyone there was hammered. I've had eight long years to get used to being in places where others are drinking (and oftentimes getting very, very drunk), and for the most part, I'm cool with it. I'm an adult who likes to be around other adults, and that often entails drinking.

I have honed several techniques that allow me to bypass rounds of shots and drinks that inevitably get offered to me throughout nights like this. Usually, I just turn my barstool the other way when group drinks are being poured, or I strategically excuse myself and feign a sudden need to pee and hide in the bathroom for a moment. But it wasn't all of the alcohol being spilled all over this party that was hard to dodge; it was the shock of a gentleman's face when, as I was leaving, he said, "Have a good night and drive safe!"

Knowing how drunk everyone at this gathering was, I could see the emphasis on "safe" in his face. I looked at him and replied, "Oh, I will! I don't drink, so everyone in my car will be just fine." He just stared at me. It is a stare I am accustomed to; it is a stare that asks, how can you hang out in a place all night, surrounded by people pounding a keg and bottle after bottle of whiskey and not drink any of it?

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Bree Davies is a multimedia journalist, artist advocate and community organizer born and raised in Denver. Rooted in the world of Do-It-Yourself arts and music, Davies co-founded Titwrench experimental music festival, is host of the local music and comedy show Sounds on 29th on CPT12 Colorado Public Television and is creator and host of the civic and social issue-focused podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? Her work is centered on a passionate advocacy for all ages, accessible, inclusive, non-commercial and autonomous DIY art spaces and music venues in Denver.
Contact: Bree Davies