Don't let FoMO ruin your holiday weekend!
Well, readers, it's Memorial Day weekend here in the states, so, now seems just as good as any to talk about the elephant in your recovery room-
60% of Americans will be barbequing on what has become the unofficial kick off to summer. For those of you who are wondering what the big deal is, it began as a day of remembrance.
In the beginning, Americans observed this holiday on May 30th annually as a way to remember and show appreciation for people who died in active service for our military.
-of course, you wouldn't infer that now.
Through the years, the long weekend has become a symbol of summer, a party holiday and a travel weekend. One of the busiest out of four holiday weekends in the year for the country, behind New Years, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. Along with the increase in travel, Memorial Day has risen above Christmas and Thanksgiving in the most recent years with DUI statistics.
Currently, Memorial Day is close to taking the number one spot for deadliest weekends in the country -312 deaths annually on average as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Second now only to 4th of July weekend.
What was once a somber day of remembrance has now become a series of kegstands, blackouts, and car accidents.
Look, I get that times change, and there was a natural evolution to this holiday becoming about backyard barbeques and travel weekends
- Government holidays -----> extended weekends
- extended weekends ------> travel plans
- travel to ------> warm sunny location
- warm sun ------>refreshing beverage
So sometimes, it can get hard not to get sucked in, or at least be tempted by the weekend shenanigans. There is a reason you aren't drinking, and it's not because you could do it moderately, or in any healthy manner, so obviously steer clear of the booze.
-but that doesn't mean you can't have ANY fun!
Yeah, I know what you are thinking because I thought the same thing at first - that sounds great in theory but, won't I feel like I'm missing out on the party?
The bad news: FOMO can be your biggest obstacle in recovery.
The good news: FOMO won't kill you. In fact, it's all in your head.
The best news: It is all in your head.
There was a really pivotal moment early on in my recovery when I verbalized these feelings of "missing out" to my dad. I had gotten beat down and lost in the mental ringer I was putting myself through
- "how can I have fun now?"
- "will I always just be 'missing out'?"
- "do I even enjoy the same things without alcohol?"
- "will anyone still enjoy being around me?"
I remember we were in the car on our way home from getting some of my blood drawn; a thing that had become routine. We talked about a lot on these drives and a lot of the things he said stuck with me, but this day, in particular, might have saved my life.
I was more or less thinking out loud when the words came out, and just as soon as they did I wanted to eat them; to stuff them back into the hole they had been eating away inside me.
"For the rest of my life I will have to tell people, 'no thanks I don't drink anymore' or 'no I can't', at every social event there is alcohol." The words came right out of my mouth and plopped down on top of me, pushing me farther, deeper into myself and the car seat beneath me.
The shame and self-loathing inside began to percolate. The addict in me hated facing that fact- that my life would now be sober. My FoMO was in distress with the fact that I would assuredly be part of the 'MO' in that equation.
Luckily my father, who has always been my hero in more ways than I can count, said something that hit me so hard, it knocked the weight of what I had just said completely out of the window.
"You are still giving alcohol power over you! Stop it!"
Here I was being vulnerable, honest, scared, broken, and open with him and admit that I have to say 'NO' to alcohol, and that was a slap in the face response!
My mouth opened, ready to unfurl a venomous hurtful rage on my poor father who had just toted me around the better part of Northern Arizona to make sure I got blood work done for my liver specialist.
Thankfully, he cut me off.
"You choose life," he said. "That's how you should look at it. You could live your life saying, 'i can't drink,' or 'i don't drink' but I think you should stop letting it have power over you. It's taken enough from you, take your power back. When people offer you a drink, say, 'no thanks, I choose life."
Whatever anger was inside of me quickly welled up into tears, and eventual sobs streaking down my face. There was something so beautiful about what he said; something so valid.
It made me realize that alcohol was the reason I was ever 'missing out' to being with.
I was either:
- too drunk to remember
- too drunk to be present
- too drunk to care
The bottom line is I was too drunk.
Not wanting to miss out on the party, almost took my life at the age of 27; talk about FoMO working against you.
I was too drunk so often, that I almost died. If THAT isn't the epitome of "missing out" I really don't know what is.
So for this and any other weekend, holiday, or get-together where you might feel like you are missing out; take your power back. Remember all the things you lost because of your addiction; friendships, memories, entire people.
Stay safe this weekend readers, and until next time
-catch ya on the #soberside