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Why I'm Hungover Today (Even Though I Haven't Had a Drink in 1 Year, 5 Months, and 2 Days)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I haven't had a sip of alcohol to my lips since September 26, 2009, which a handy little website told me this morning is precisely 1 year, 5 months, and 2 days ago. And yet I woke up this morning feeling horribly hungover. I AM hungover, emotionally. Here's why:

Yesterday we celebrated two of our friends and their civil union with a few of their close friends and family members. The union was a lovely affair, and we had a pleasant early dinner in their honor in their beautiful home. And it allllll went down hill from there. Neither Dan nor I drink (if you've known me long enough, you'll remember I used to, and like a champ), but everyone else (who didn't leave by 7:00) did. Not only does too much alcohol make for some awkward coordination (a brother fell into a curio cabinet and against several walls, leaving some lovely blue jean stains for the guests of honor to clean up today), but it also makes people feel a bit more free to say whatever comes to their minds--about themselves, about others--and about, say, you and your weight.

Like, "Wow, Melissa, you've lost a lot of weight. I almost didn't recognize you!" And "How much weight have you lost?" Or "You must be really proud of yourself." Innocuous, harmless. But how about, "How much weight has Dan lost? He looks way too skinny. You should make him stop." Or "You look great, but you should stop right there. Don't lose anything else or you'll be skinny." Or "How much do you weigh right now? No, how much? Come on, tell me! How much do you weigh right now?" Or "You were really fat then, but that was just who you were! But NOW, now you're like PRESENT, NOTICEABLE, like BAM." Or "What did you do to get to here? Do you just really run THAT much?" Or "I'm not sure you guys are eating enough." Or "No, seriously, what's the big deal? How much do you weigh?" Or "I'd guess you're about 110 pounds. Noooo, that's not right." Or "Alright, if you won't tell me what you weigh NOW, tell me what you weighed before?"

I was semi prepared for some of these comments and took them in stride. But others I wasn't. As a result, I answered questions I didn't want to answer, and I felt unprepared to address things that people said. I realize I need to be better prepared to address what others say and ask (whether they're sober OR drinking, because in my experience it doesn't take alcohol for people to think they're entitled to ask what you may think are very personal questions!) about my body. And by "address" I don't mean provide them with the information they're looking for, but kindly deflect or steer away from what are often over-the-line comments or questions.

I also need to--still, just like I did when I was in the process of losing weight--set a plan for my eating. I'm very active and can presently eat a lot more than I once did with no effect, but this doesn't mean I should--or want to--eat junk. While I'm present, somehow eating cake and pasta and white rice seems like a good idea. But within minutes--and especially the next day--my body feels terrible, lethargic, slow, trashed up. Had I made the decision to stay more in tune with myself, I'd have made choices that honored my body and my life. Had I not chosen to stay in a situation that I experienced as stressful, exhausting, and toxic, this would not have been a consideration.

Which reminds me that I also need to be prepared to leave when it's time for me to leave. Last night Dan offered to bring over some entertainment--our professional-level karaoke system (which takes time and effort to cart over, put together, and dismantle--Dan does sound stuff for a living). At 8:00 he set this up, and at 12:00 last night he began dismantling it. It was... a late night. I'd woken up at 6:00 in the morning for a run and a clinic related to my tri training program that morning and had NO business being up that late--AND at about 8:30 PM, when I was ready to go home, I knew it. Incidentally, the night degenerated about an hour and a half before we left with the "happy" couple not speaking to each other because of the drunken comments of one's brother, and the other's alcohol-infused, emotionally amplified reaction and confusion.

A night like last night leaves me feeling emotionally and physically exhausted. About 18 months ago, this would merely have been a typical Saturday night (well, except that I wouldn't have gotten up for a 4-mile run the morning before). Dan apporpriately told me this morning that last night was like trying on a pair of size 40 jeans and going, "Wait, why did I expect these might fit?" I know what he means. I experienced a huge gap between the life I lived and the life I lead. I could not be more pleased with the latter. With gratitude, I continue to leave the former behind.

So today it's time to detox--emotionally and physically--and rest, recharge, and recoup. Off to a good start: grateful for another lesson, insight, and reminder, about why it's always worth staying the course.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ZIRCADIA
    DUDE! It's been sO LONG since I visited your page! Thanks for blog commenting me or I wouldn't have realized how far you'ev come in your journey! I'm sorry people can be so insensitive, I guess drunkenness does help that but sometiems it doesn't matter. HAHAHA. :)
    2782 days ago
  • TRAVELGRRL
    Thanks so much for sharing. I'm sorry you have to leave your old friends behind, but sometimes that's just the way it is. My favorite motivational speaker, Les Brown says, "You can go faster with a hundred who want to go, then with ONE AROUND YOUR NECK."

    Keeup up the good work.
    2784 days ago
  • ME_HERE_NOW
    there is a benji hughes song that asks 'why do these parties always end the same way?'

    http://www.youtube.com/watc
    h?v=CAyRbm51n2c

    you know i am at this same juncture as you socially, and we walk the fine line btwn being there for others and honouring our own wishes. it was nice of you to be there for your friends even tho it was totally stressful for you, i respect that. in the future it won't be such a monumental event so you CAN leave early, or drop by for a half hour with well wishes and head out on your way to do all the many other things in your life that need attention. sending much love!!
    2785 days ago
  • SCARECROWISCOOL
    I'm glad you are such a strong person & were able to deal with this in a healthy way. You are a rock star.
    2785 days ago
  • JESSIEJUICE
    It sounds like you guys have taken such huge emotional strides in the last year or more and definitely for the better. I feel bad for the couple that their party disintigrated a bit! Sorry for all of the weight comments- I'm sure some came from a good place, but some of the latter were definitely out of line. Sounds like you recognized what you needed (left when you wanted to, etc) and are de-toxing well. Onwards and upwards!
    2785 days ago
  • CHIFANG130
    Wow! Now I think after an event like this, it will only enforce you that never to drink again, or stay late for the sake of celebrating. Thank you so much for sharing! It's someone like you on Sparkpeople makes all the difference why we are in pursuit of a healthy life style! Spark on for staying in the course!
    2786 days ago
  • KLAD_COCKERS
    Sounds like an awfully tough event Melissa. It never ceases to amaze me what people think is acceptable to say or ask. I guess that old friend (or foe?) alcohol does the talking at times like that. But still . . . really? It is NEVER appropriate to ask somebody how much they weigh. And it's nobody's business but yours when you stop or start losing weight.

    Luckily you have your head on straight AND you have a fantastic, supportive husband. What could have been a hugely emotional event has become another introspection for you, and an increase in your awareness.
    2786 days ago
  • BANAN2
    I totally relate to the fallout from all those personal questions. I am not a quick thinker, and I am very private. A deadly combination when confronted with these blunt, prying types of inquiries. Oh, i forgot...I also easily feel ashamed! So if i am cornered unexpectedly, I have sometimes offered answers that were half truths or outright lies, and then gotten responses that made me feel ashamed of myself and my life and think,"Sheesh, what would she have said if I told the WHOLE TRUTH????? Plus felt uncomfortable about having lied. After a few run ins like that with a former neighbor, I did rehearse polite but firm subject changes and would brace myself whenever I saw her. But there are still people in my life (relatives) who can leave me with emotional hangovers, even though i love them. They don't even need alcohol to fuel them, they are just blunt and I am sensitive and it doesn't make a comfortable mix!
    2786 days ago
  • LIBBYFITZ
    That sounds like a very emotionally challenging time, having people feel they have the right to discuss your personal life as if it is up for grabs because you have lost weight! It is almost like you want to wear a sighn on your forehead! "I have lost weight and what I weigh now is NONE of your business!"
    2786 days ago
  • NANHBH
    WOW, what a learning experience! Thanks for sharing this. I will be more cognisant of like situations - where the behavior is not in sync with my values - and remove myself from the situation before I become toxic!
    2786 days ago
  • PROVERBS31JULIA
    So sad you had to deal with this... but...I guess it's a learning process. I know this is something I dread... and learning how to say "Why is my weight of such interest to you?" or like what my Southern sistah Mt. Moonchaser said "Why in the world do you want to know something so personal?" - I love that!!! emoticon We should write that down and keep it where we see it all the time, to remind us, so we don't lurch off track next time we have that kind of nosiness thrown at us, drunk or sober!! Hope you drank lots of water and healing fruit or tea today and some good nap time to help soothe and detox!!
    2786 days ago
  • MT-MOONCHASER
    One of my favorite answers is "Why in the world do you want to know something so personal?" Works for weight questions and also other misc. things like "When are you going to have kids?" and others of that ilk? Anyway, it throws the ball back into their court and it may get them to stop and think. Yes, it is nice to be gracious, but there comes a point that you about have to answer rude with rude...

    I guess nobody will ever accuse me of having Southern charm.

    emoticon
    2787 days ago
  • CIZETHEDAY124
    It's truly a shame that with some alcohol people feel "entitled" to say and do whatever they want. You are right - time to detox. You and Dan should do something extra fun & fit today!! Enjoy each other and your successes!!

    emoticon
    2787 days ago
  • KNITTINGMOMOF3
    I'm so sorry that you had such a bad night. I'm glad that you have a great attitude about this and you are reminded of how far you've come. You are awesome! I hope today is a great day for you.

    emoticon
    2787 days ago
  • FREES1
    its truly a shame that people get themselves to get that drunk....
    and its truly a shame that people cannot respect other people's accomplishments without stompling all over them with disrespect. Its nice your friends care and want to help you celebrate your success but they can be so ignorant of what they are doing with their words.

    Preparing yourself for the deflection and for being able to be what you need wherever you are both things that should be added to any weight loss/lifestyle change program!

    Good luck with your day and congrats to you for your new lifestyle!!!!!
    2787 days ago
  • JULIA_211
    Isn't sobriety a wonderful thing? I am a recovering alcoholic myself, so I can relate to being in a stressful, unpleasant situation like yours. But your attitude is wonderful, it reminded you of your current blessings. emoticon You're emoticon
    2787 days ago
  • HEALTHYME47
    Ah, conversations with drunk people. Always so charming ;) But seriously, I'm sorry you felt pressured into giving out personal info that you weren't comfortable sharing and that wasn't anyone's business if you didn't want to tell them. On the bright side, they probably won't remember any info you told them. And if they do remember, hopefully they are at least a little abashed about their behavior as well as their backhanded compliments. I'm channeling my inner Miss Manners here, who is good at coming up with polite answers to nosy and rude questions. I think she'd suggest memorizing a canned response, delivered with a fixed smile on your face, of something like, "How kind of you to notice. Yes, it's been quite a journey. So, tell me, what have YOU been up to?" and firmly change the subject.
    2787 days ago
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