Hairspray Water and the Devil’s Saliva

Hello sober blog people! I have edited this post four times to reflect my actual locale. Yes, I’m quite the jet setter! Movin’ and groovin’, shuckin’ and jivin’, c’est moi.

At this time, I am in the Happiest Place On Earth! Yes, you guessed it– my couch! Actually the HPOE is on my bed but Mr. Betty is currently inhabiting it and I will most likely be groggily chastised dare I turn on a light.

In the last month I have been a Gal On The Go:

  • Last week Mr. Betty and I and one of the Betty-lets were at the Oregon Coast doing absolutely nothing for four days straight. We of The Betty Family excel at this type of activity (or lack thereof).
  • Two weeks before that we were in Wenatchee and also Cashmere Washington wherein we attended a bluegrass festival. Cashmere is the home of Applets and Cotlets. If you do not know what I’m talking about then you are like 99% of my friends. I really just like to say Wenatchee. It’s satisfying. And it rhymes with Waxahachie which I also like to say.
  • The weekend before that my daughter and I did a 24 hour turnaround whilst helping my friend move from Spokane to Salem (yes, I literally AM the best friend anyone ever had EVAHHHHHH).
  • The weekend before and the place from whence this blog was conceived (I’m building this shit up quite a bit, aren’t I ? Hope I can pull it off!) was the Great State of California wherein I attended a party.

And THAT is what I wanted to talk about and shall do so NOW:

Please allow me to elaborate on “party”: we are NOT talking about one of my boring sober parties where I bust my ass cooking all day, yell at people to “get the fuck out of the kitchen”, then we hear Mr. Betty on the banjo, then everyone leaves by 8pm. No. That is most certainly what we’re NOT talking about.

What we are, in fact, actually talking about is a bonified, full on party with shit tons of hooch and fuckers that never leave.

Now, I am not judging anyone *I actually judge everyone* but the day went like this:

Stop at BevMo and buy copious amounts of booze (this is where I purchased my NA beer). Frankly I was a little skittish; I haven’t been in a liquor store since 2015. And this place is a fucking LIQUORAMA. Boozeland, if you will. There were Vegas-style chandeliers, neon lights, Kettle Korn booths and whimsical characters in themed costumes: the friendly, feathery drunken Grey Goose, “hey kids, let’s get fucked up! Honkity honk!”.
We do not have these establishments in Oregon as this state lovingly regulates everyone’s access to any swill that is not beer or wine. The biggest liquor store in Oregon (and my own former haunt) is about the size of a Taco Bell. So this was new experience all around.

We fill a shopping cart with the Devil’s Saliva. My friend has already performed a weird hat trick in which she pulled about a thousand bottles of booze out of her cabinet and still determined she was “out” of stuff. (Spoiler alert: she barely drinks).

Then on to the grocery store (where I purchase my La Croix which my friend calls “hairspray water” due to what is clearly a deep misunderstanding of seltzer) where we purchase copious amounts of sugar-water with which to mix aforementioned Drool of Satan.

The night goes like this:

The guests start arriving early and we are off to a drinky start! It’s 5pm!

We get the food out at 6pm then more guests arrive. They are pretty much mixing Coke with “whatever” as I far as can tell, even though my friend the host has gone to a lot of trouble and expense to set out fancy-schmancy drink makings that we spent the day gathering.

7pm and most of the party goers are arriving. People are eating delicious catered BBQ (this correspondent included). Alcoholic birthday gifts are revealed and imbibed!

8pm and shots are fired!…. down the throats of merry and starting-to-sway party goers. Specifically pricey bday-gifted tequila shots. Early arrivers are collecting their children and departing.

9pm and this party is in full swing and people are drinking. Or not drinking. We appear to have some of both. I am not sure if this is because they are driving or just preference.

10pm and some of those who were most enormously enjoying the alcohol earlier are starting to realize that OH SHIT I AM REALLY DRUNK and take measures to DIAL THAT SHIT DOWN. Coffee is made, water is guzzled. All that work to get to the Holy Buzz, and now they are trying desperately to undue what has been done.

11pm and most of the guests have departed, a few hang out to sober up before driving or just night owls wanting to chat.

12pm and we are waiting for one of the guest’s Uber to arrive, he has a 40 mile drive home and the unexcited drivers are few and far between.

12:30 pm, I announce that I am DONE WITH YOU FUCKERS and going to bed.

1:45 (this is from a reliable source as I am asleep) last guests leave.

How did I get through this???

I’ll be honest (because I am not always so??) The BevMo experience was startling for me and frankly made me feel tense and a bit anxious. I was able to breath my way through it and not bolt out the door as my brain entreated me to do.

After the panic passed, I was able to disassociate myself from the product and just behaved like I was in a marijuana shop or a sporting goods store– here is a bunch of stuff that has no meaning for me. Then I was able to help my friend search for her fancy liqueur.

As for the party itself, as mentioned above it was NOT MY THING. The thought of people being in my house past 10pm who were not invited overnight guests fills me with the blackest of dread. However, I am really happy that I was there. Being sober is a unique perspective at such an affair. Most of my social gatherings are alcohol free or nearly so, and as we know the world is not going to stop drinking just to make us comfy.

I was able (after an initial hiding in the living room period) to have one-on-one conversations with friends I haven’t seen for 10, 20 or 30 years. Many people were either not drinking or not drinking much. Some asked me what I was drinking and I replied La Croix or fake beer or whatever. I had several conversations about my sobriety and when asked why, my answer of “It became problematic” seemed to be understood. Some I told in-depth of what my drinking life was like. I talked to person who told me he doesn’t always want to drink but does so because everyone’s doing it and it’s expected and he is worried he wouldn’t have fun. I talked to someone who said defensively (with forced joviality) “I’m not a quitter! hahahah!” I talked to people who couldn’t give a shit either way.

I probably could have shut my mouth and not said anything and honestly no one would have noticed that I wasn’t drinking and I said as much to Mr. Betty and he said, but maybe one person who has a problem will hear you and maybe it will change their life. Also, I’m still fucking hilarious while stone cold sober so that’s always its own advertisement.

So that’s why I run my mouth and that’s why I write. I thought seriously about rather staying in a hotel so I could escape if necessary. If this was a party I had merely attended I would have left by 10pm and quite merrily driven myself home (which to this day still seems like a super power, one that all of you can have, too).

I knew what I was getting into- I could not leave as I was staying at the house and I struggled with that. However since I was visiting the entire weekend and only a few hours of that were about alcohol I felt like I could put up with it in order to have have the proximity to my friend whom I do not see very often. But a hotel would also be a good compromise if one needed it.

If you are attending parties this summer (willingly or other) I hope my observations are helpful.

Right! Mr. Betty and I are off to our shiny new gym (may the honeymoon last forever…)

13 thoughts on “Hairspray Water and the Devil’s Saliva

  1. Great post.
    One abiding piece of advice drilled into me in early recovery was “Always have an escape plan. Never hesitate to use it”
    I’ve done it three times in 15 years.
    Once on a business trip to the USA. I’d always insisted I had my own hire car when travelling. At a Japanese restaurant suddenly there was a shift after we’d eaten and it looked like a drinking session was on. One of the American hosts left and I took my queue to go. I made sure the other UK person had a lift back to the hotel (share a cab) and left. Phoning my sponsor back I the UK in the middle of the night to talk.
    Once at a work Christmas do. Walked out after meal again… Phoned sponsor…
    Once at a friend’s birthday party. Mrs F decided to stay she actually slept over but I drove home… Phoned sponsor etc…
    Now due to my health I can’t currently drive which limits my escape plans. I have concerns over my nephew’s wedding set for new year eve….. We’ll see I might need a planned escape plan with others this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! Love an escape plan. Plenty of cabs/Ubers available NYE. I certainly would have called one and gone to a hotel if I didn’t have my own room, ear plugs and sleeping mask (I travel a bit.)


  2. I want to come to a party when we hear Mr Betty on the Banjo. As for the other “full on booze fests”, I will channel my inner Megan Rapinoe….”No, I’m not going to any”…..

    Liked by 1 person

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