A large group of my close friends are in Alcoholics Anonymous, and though I enjoy spending time with them, Friday nights with no booze can get a little boring. I’m no lush, but I enjoy a few beers or a glass of wine on the weekends.
Recently, I was at a backyard barbecue at one of the teetotalers’ homes and I asked if it’d be okay for me to stash a few beers in the fridge. The party host was fine with it, but a few of the other folks were offended. I only drank two beers, but I got dirty looks from some of my friends all night. One guy commented that if I became drunk and obnoxious, I’d need to leave the party. That hurt my feelings, since I would never drink to excess in front of those friends.
Now, I feel uncomfortable even mentioning alcohol around some of them. Should I just give up and join the sober party? Or is there a way to convince my AA buddies that I can handle a few beers in their presence?
— The Weekend Drinker
Dear Weekend Drinker,
There’s a fine balance between respecting your friends’ addictions and managing your own happiness. On one hand, alcohol could be a serious temptation for some of your friends — probably the ones who were the most uncomfortable with its presence at the barbecue. But it’s also not fair that their problem is making life less fun for you.
The next time your sober buddies have a gathering, leave the booze at home and ask each person how they’d feel about you having a drink or two the next time you get together. That way, you can determine which friends are comfortable with your casual drinking and which ones aren't. In the future, when the friends who claim they’re uncomfortable around alcohol are going to be present, you should probably lay off the sauce for a night.
And you also might want to make a few drinking buddies. That’ll allow you to drink with some friends and spend sober time with others.
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