On Monday I promised you a wedding post since I attended Caron’s wedding this past weekend! This was the fifth time I had the honor of being a bridesmaid and I will be one in a sixth wedding in September. On my way to 27 dresses for sure! Keeping the privacy of myself and my sober friends I can’t share any pictures or details with you, but just believe me when I say it was BEAUTIFUL, fancy, everything was to the nines, as they say. Caron did an incredible job planning the entire wedding herself. In keeping with anonymity, I have decided to tell you more generally about my experience with weddings- sober and not sober. This weekend marked my third wedding sober. I was a participant in two weddings during my active addiction.
The first “active” wedding was for a family friend. Growing up my family was very close to another family with two daughters 6 and 8 years older than myself. They were like big sisters to me and both asked me to be in their weddings as a bridesmaid. The second wedding I was well on my way to being a full blown addict. I remember, it was the fall of my freshman year of college. I was supposed to catch a plane to a city nearby and then transfer to a longer flight down in the deeeep south. It was around noon on a Friday. I had skipped my astronomy class that day and was sitting in my dormroom alone, bored and waiting until it was time to drive myself 10 miles to the local airport. For some reason I decided to snort ambien, as I usually did at night or before English class. For some reason I liked to black out in English.
[For anyone who doesn’t know – ambien is a sleeping aid. If you take it normally and go to bed, it helps you sleep. If you take it, snort it, drink it and force yourself to stay awake you either hallucinate or black out or both. If you drink alcohol with it, it enhances the effects. I found this out my senior year in high school and fell in love. This is why I would never recommend anyone who is in recovery and has isnomnia to take ambien if they can avoid it. You will sleep on your own eventually, just drink some tea and wait it out. I had insomnia for probably the first year of my recovery. It gets better.]
So there I was, snorting a 10mg third pill because I wasn’t feeling the first two fast enough. I waited to feel something. Nothing. I decided to drink a cup of the Hypnotic I kept in my dormroom fridge. I wanted to help myself out a little. Ahhh that’s better. It’s time to head to the airport. I grab my bags and head to my car. But after I got in the car I don’t remember much. The airport is 10 miles a way and it took me 1 hour to get there. I remember it was raining and I remember skidding near ditches and finally I arrived at the airport. The woman said I had missed the flight but could drive the 2 hours to the other airport to catch my connection. So I did and then I missed that flight too. I missed the rehearsal and dinner because of my actions and I lied to everyone, saying I missed my flight because my class got out late. I’m not sure I’ve ever told the truth about it. I had no clue at that point that I had a drug problem.
My second “active” wedding was my sister’s wedding. It was a disaster. I’d cheated on Leo a month before the wedding, we broke up and I disinvited him to the wedding. Instead of going stag to the wedding I brought the guy who I cheated on him with. WHO DOES THAT? My sister didn’t say anything but I know she was angry. I spent the whole weekend blowing lines with the “to go” bag I’d created and my pocket mirror. Oh wait, I forgot to tell you I went through security at the airport with 2 grams in my pocket. I was sweating bullets. So glad I didn’t get caught. I did a line in the bathroom immediately following security to “calm myself down.” I’m basically the dumbest person on earth. At the reception I was plastered and kept going off to my mom’s van to do lines because the bathroom stalls weren’t closed off enough. My sister never said anything to me that weekend, I avoided her for the most part. I was the Maid of Honor. I had no clue at that point that I had a problem.
I’ve been two three weddings since I got sober and I was a bridesmaid in two of them. Being sober (and in recovery) at a wedding is a completely different experience. As a sober friend, family member and bridesmaid, I am able to show up for someone besides myself. I am able to be present, to be selfless, to have real fun, to sometimes be the only sane one in a situation. At my brother’s wedding and learned how to have fun dancing sober! I don’t think I’d ever had that much fun dancing before either. Last fall, I was the only sober one at the bachelorette party a few nights before the wedding and was able to keep the bride calm while her younger sister, a budding alcoholic, ruined the night.
And finally, this past weekend my bestfriend got married. Sober. I’ve seen the couple through a few phases in their relationship and I can truly say that they are meant to be. They are both multiple years sober and very active in the recovery community. I wish them both years and years of sobriety and happiness in their marriage! It never even crossed my mind to drink last weekend since all our sober friends were there, the bride and groom both sober and Leo behaved himself. The whole weekend was magical. I was present, living in the moment, fetching things left and right, and happy to do so for my bestfriend, the bride. I got to take pictures of sober people instead of drunk messes. They even had a signature alcohol-free cocktail for the weekend, and it was delicious. I got to enjoy the wonderful reception dinner sober, to taste the cake. I wasn’t even present for the cutting of the cake at my sister’s wedding, at least I have zero recollection of it. I can’t imagine missing any minute of my bestfriend’s wedding, it was one of the best weekends of my life. And thanks for AA, my higher power and my sober friends – I got to enjoy every second of it.
It never crossed my mind when I was using that I would be hurting those I loved on such an important occasion in their life. I was selfish and sick and thoughtless. It didn’t even bother me that someone would be upset if I was late, missing, completely intoxicated. Today my family matters. My friends matter. And in the end I enjoy myself sober at weddings way more than I ever did drinking.
What’s your favorite part about weddings?