Something I have noticed since I have quit drinking, is how people react differently to things I say. It used to be that if I joked about a friend being obviously hung over or I teased a coworker being consistently late due to their propensity to stay up late drinking every night it was good-natured ribbing, now I am being a judgmental prick. I can no longer simply ask someone if they’ve had a few, now I am accusing them of being drunk. These have all been part of my ongoing everyday conversations for years that have now been put into a new context, since shortly after I sobered up. It has been a slow and noticeable transition, starting with the early days when no one took it too seriously; I mean who could have possibly imagined I was going to actually stop drinking for real. Now that the reality of my sobriety has sunk in and I am no longer part of the crowd I get the impression that at times my particular brand of sarcastic wit doesn’t go over as well. I am willing to concede that maybe somehow now that I am not talking to people in quite the same way; for one thing I am not slurring my speech as much. I doubt however that I have suddenly taking the tone of some sanctimonious ass, or a different sanctimonious ass than the one I was when I was a drunk.
Needless to say that this has put considerable strain on my personal relationships. It also has made me more self-conscious and less likely to talk to the people around me when I am having a hard time with my sobriety. It’s not that they don’t get it; well to be honest I doubt most of them do get it at all but, I think they try. It is hard though, to discuss your feelings with people when you can sense them drawing away for fear that you are going to start sermonizing. More often then not the seize on any opportunity to change to a softer subject, like their dysfunctional romantic entanglements or the weather. I am happy to oblige them most of the time because all in all I realize that I mostly just talking to myself anyway.
It is frustrating because despite my intention to stay the same jolly jack-ass that I have always been, I know I have changed. I know that my inward changes have started to have an outward effect on me and people have started to notice. People don’t like change, I sure as hell don’t. Lately all this change has made me feel just a little bit lonely and isolated.