One side effect of being sober is being a “booze hostage.” I like hanging out with my drinking friends, and my wife, and I don’t mind when they drink and I don’t. But here’s the thing — you can’t rush a drink.
Here’s the scenario: I’m out with somebody. They order a beer. I order a soda. They drink their beer, I drink my soda.
Life is good.
They order a second beer. I don’t want another soda, so I’m on water.
Over time, the conversation is… it’s fine, but the bar’s loud, it’s not so easy to hear. I’m not buzzed in the way that makes conversation flow like it does when you’re drinking.
So there’s a kind of drink gap in conversation.
I start getting itchy feet. I could be doing something; if I’m with my wife, we could just as easily be talking while cooking, or doing laundry. Or doing something.
But what are you going to do? If the beer is high-grav, I’m not going to start demanding you chug it. I can’t ask you to walk away from a good beer. So I’m kind of stuck.
Being a booze hostage means patience. And planning.
One thing I need to do is start taking my iPad with me. And/or phone. Or a book, or… something. I feel like a massive jerk, in some ways — what, you don’t like conversation? But I also don’t like loud places (which bars are) and I’ve got about a 45-minute attention span for talk when nothing else at all is going on. It’s how I am. And the conversations you have once people are a couple beers in get more… elevated in tone and emotion, and it’s kind of taxing when you’re sober.
So I need to start planning my booze hostage moments better. It’s good that I’m not drinking, and it’s good that I don’t plan to drink. Also good that I like hanging out with my wife, and my friends.
But if I’m not going to be insufferable while other people drink, I need to find better strategies to amuse myself.