June 26, 2021 by Molly Patrick

I was beautifully mistaken

Last Saturday, Luanne and I attended our first party since COVID-19 hit the U.S.

Our dear friend’s husband was turning 60 and he wanted to celebrate! They invited 14 of their closest vaccinated friends, and opened their home to actual humans.

I was part nervous (because, people) and part excited (because, people).

Back in the day, before I quit drinking and started eating a whole food plant based diet, I loved parties.

I would talk to everyone, dance, eat, drink, laugh, I would even put on a “Molly show” that consisted of ridiculous interpretive dance, a catwalk strut, and really unattractive facial expressions. It was awesome.

When I quit drinking and really started giving a crap about what I ate, parties became something I dreaded.

Without alcohol, I didn't have the desire or courage to chat with people and make them laugh, and eating nothing but plants meant I was packing my own food.

To summarize: I went from being the life of the party to that awkward lady in the corner noshing her hummus and trying not to be noticed.

With time though, I discovered that I could go to a party and have fun, I just had to bring the fun internally instead of relying on outside substances to do the job for me.

I also realized that a party is much more entertaining when it’s not all about you. Observing and engaging with people who are drinking is now hilarious and fascinating.

Another thing that dawned on me once I started going to parties sober is that the connections I make are much more meaningful when alcohol is not involved. Yes, I was very social when I drank, but I never made deep connections or truly engaged with people in a way that was soul-satisfying.

Once I got over the funny looks for bringing my own food, I challenged myself to bring whole food plant based dishes to parties that everyone (or at least most people) would enjoy.

I started talking about my food and why I eat this way. I started answering people’s questions and having awesome conversations about ingredients, cooking, culture, and personal food choices. And because I wasn’t drinking, my mind was sharp and my conversations made an impact on those around me.

I eventually found my groove going to parties sober and plant-fueled, and I actually have almost as much fun at parties now than I did back then. That’s weird to type because there was a time when I absolutely did not think this was possible.

I thought having fun was a thing of the past and all that remained were dry conversations with an equally dry “nut loaf” on the side.

I was beautifully mistaken.

I used to experience false pleasure and false connection, leaving me empty and hungover.

Now I experience life, leaving me full of joy and totally connected.

That’s not to say I’m not awkward and shy at parties, I definitely am. But that’s part of the experience, so I take it. I take all of it.

Connecting with friends.

Meeting strangers.

The uncertainty of where to go next with a conversation.

The initial weirdness when you first arrive.

The flushing of my face when I’m put on the spot to explain how I made potato salad without using mayonnaise.

The panic of having to fart when the room is totally silent because the birthday boy is being read a poem by one of his closest friends (I squeezed my cheeks together SO tight).

Making new friends.

Politely declining drinks I choose not to drink and food I choose not to eat.

Remembering conversations.

Not being sure where to put my body in a room.

Eye contact.

Going to the bathroom for a much needed mental health break.

Absorbing laughter in a room, even when I’m not part of it.

The desire to go home early.

The awkwardness of one conversation ending and the unsureness of how to smoothly move along to another group of people.

I say yes to all of it. I don’t want to miss a thing. Sign me up, put me in the game, I’m here to soak everything up. And the only way I can do that is to show up to the party sublimely sober.

If you want to quit drinking or would like to drink less, join me next week for my first Sobriety Pop-up and I’ll help you do that. The richness of life is waiting. Join me here.

Today over on the blog, I’m talking with Susan Lamping, a Dirty from our community. We had a really good chat about plant based eating. If you're already eating lots of plants or you want to eat more plants, this week’s talk is for you! We’re also giving you a super simple avo-toast recipe that is surprisingly delicious.

Let's do it up over here.


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Written by ex-boozer and ex-smoker, Molly Patrick that will
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