Writing prompt: I am way too sober for this.
As I sit at the bar with my vodka-7 in hand, a little wedge of orange hugging the rim of the glass, I listen to the hum of the environment around me. The only thing is that it isn’t a vodka-7. It’s just a 7-Up, the carbonated liquid fooling everyone in my group that I’m getting just as drunk as they are. With each refill of the drink I order, I pretend to become slightly less inhibited: laughing a little bit louder, flirting a little bolder, swaying to the faint overhead music a little more dramatically. I was artfully playing the part of the drunk girl, slurring her way through conversation, but the entire time I found a mantra repeating like a broken record in my mind: I am way to sober for this.
This wouldn’t be so excruciating if I wasn’t a recovering alcoholic. This wouldn’t be a problem if my family hadn’t forced me into support groups for addiction, making me tell my story to a bunch of gin, whiskey, wine lovers time and time again, forced to celebrate small ‘successes’ I view as large agonies with each week that goes. All because I refrain from a drink. Each weekend I go out with my unsuspecting friends, all of whom are probably no less of an alcoholic than myself, and yet only I have to pretend. I have to covertly order my virgin drinks alone at the bar. Nobody knows.
As I mull over this, turning over the thoughts in my head, my friend shows up with a drink in his hands. “It’s not a vodka-7, but it’s just as good. I got a round for everyone.”
We take our places around the table, glasses in hand. Mine weighs a thousand pounds; the condensation of the ice cold cocktail sweating beneath my fingertips feels like poison, feels like temptation, feels like guilt. Everyone knocks their glasses once against the table, once against our friends’ cups, and then bring them to our mouths.
With a sigh of relief, I down the drink and drown my months of sobriety.