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Can I Ask You A Personal Question?
My First Sober Bachelorette
"Hey, can I ask you a personal question?"
I froze on the step of a crowded pool in Miami and turned to look at the woman I met a day ago when we both flew in for my friend’s bachelorette party. Towering above me in a floppy sun hat, cradling a plastic cup filled with rum and pineapple juice in her hand, she stared at me expectantly.
I cycled through all the possible things she could ask me and didn’t find anything concerning.
“Is it true you don’t drink?”
I smiled, relieved I wouldn’t have to divulge any intimate secrets in that moment.
“Oh yeah, I quit a couple years ago.”
“My mom is thinking about quitting. I’ve read Quit Like a Woman.”
I wish I wasn’t so caught off guard in that moment and that the music didn’t feel so loud, because all I said was, “Yeah it’s nice. Very on trend right now.”
Later that weekend, dressed in my mint Bride Tribe T-shirt, bopping to the music in a tiki bar, another woman in a matching mint shirt popped up next to me.
“So you don’t drink?” she asked me.
“No, I quit drinking during the pandemic.”
She pursed her lips and nodded, “I’m considering quitting next year.”
Sunday morning, before the sun rose, I dragged my carry-on out into the kitchen, balancing my own floppy sun hat on the handle as I made some coffee before my Uber arrived.
A woman who I was going to the airport with poured herself a cup as well, then turned to me and said, “I didn’t realize you don’t drink! Do you feel better without it?”
“Yes,” was all I managed to respond in my tired state.
Those three women weren’t the only ones who curiously approached me during the weekend to ask me about my experience with quitting drinking. As people found out and I’m assuming started to feel more comfortable with me, I found the topic coming up more and more.
As I was preparing for my friend’s bachelorette in Miami, I realized this would be my first one since I quit drinking almost three years ago. I checked in with myself to see how I felt. Despite the fact I didn’t know most of the women and our itinerary was packed with events that included mimosas, margaritas and martinis, I found I wasn’t worried at all.
A combination of time passing and writing about my relationship with alcohol have made me more comfortable and confident in my decision to quit. I’ve never regretted quitting and have spoken to so many people now who are like me and have cut out or cut down on drinking.
What I wasn’t prepared for was so many women pulling me aside all weekend to ask me about my sobriety journey. Between events with loud music and sleep deprivation, I unfortunately never felt energized enough to have deep conversations around quitting drinking.
Spending a weekend in Miami getting to know 16 women is fun but also socially exhausting.
Plus, I didn’t really know what to say. I quit drinking because it was the best decision for me. My relationship to alcohol was complicated and I started to see that drinking was almost entirely net negative in my life.
On top of that, I’ve found that drinking can be a sensitive topic for people. I’d prefer to know someone for longer than a few hours and with my senses completely sharp before wading into that conversation.
All that being said, there seems to be a shift in the air and it’s pretty cool to witness. It was nice that my own decision to stay sober was fully supported and seen by so many people as an opportunity to have a conversation around the benefits of that choice.
Maybe there’s more literature around the benefits of quitting drinking. Maybe we’re all getting older and focused more on settling down instead of turning up. Maybe my own confidence in my choice to quit is an example that it can be done without giving up fun things like bachelorette parties.
Whatever the driving factor, I’m excited to see that the conversation around drinking is shifting towards normalizing the option to quit.
My friend’s wedding is in a month, and this time I’ll come prepared with talking points and podcast recommendations in case anyone wants pull me aside to ask a personal question again.
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