Sticky sober situation, averted.

08Jan11

Back in my drinking days, I used to dread the end of a dining-out evening, when it came time to tally the bill and I’d have to pay the piper because of my (un)healthy appetite for alcohol.

All those martinis and glasses of vino really added up.

So what’s a gal in recovery to do when she’s out with a group and the bill comes, and someone suggests they divvy it up evenly? Even if I’d sipped a single bottle of Perrier ($4.00), while they’d downed a round of pricey cocktails ($12 a pop) and two bottles of even pricier Pinot Noir?

I’ve felt awkward, to say the least, pointing out my teetotaling when totaling the tab.

Luckily, I wasn’t subjected to this sticky situation when I recently visited my two best friends for a girls’ weekend back East.

During a trip to NYC, the three of us took our friend (and hostess with the mostest, since she let us stay in her comfy Upper East Side apartment overnight) out to a neighborhood Italian restaurant. When the check arrived, my friends – who’ve been undyingly supportive about my sobriety – quickly noted that I hadn’t ordered drinks or wine, and tallied their increased share accordingly.

I can’t tell you how thankful I was. It spared me the discomfort of having to pipe up and make note of the fact that I didn’t drink. Even among friends, I’ll admit, that still can feel weird. And like many alcoholics, I suffer from financial insecurity, so I’ve been known to pinch a penny or two. The times that I’ve gone ahead and paid for much more than my fair share haven’t numbered too many, I’m happy to say. But when I do that, I end up with a lot of resentment. And as AAs know, resentment can be the death of us.

I’m wondering if this is a common experience with my fellow alcoholics out there – and if so, how have you handled it? Or is it just not that big a deal?

Just sign me:

Penny Pinching and Teetotaling in Texas

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3 Responses to “Sticky sober situation, averted.”

  1. I have to say that I’ve never been in that situation. The only time I am around drinkers is at work sponsored events or family gatherings; both of which have “free” booze. Upon getting sober, I no longer socialized with friends who drink. My past experience has shown it to be too uncomfortable a situation.

    I am glad it worked out for you this last time. I, too, would have begun to harbor some resentments, big time.

  2. I’ve been in that spot and have felt the awkwardness of being the one ordering short while others indulge long. I’ve learned to say, “I’d prefer to just pay my own check thanks.” and leave it at that.

    The important key to that is to realize, you’re not being unrealistic or mean, you’re being responsible for your own check and allowing others to be responsible for theirs. They’re still welcome to divy it up evenly if they want to, you just remove yourself from that consideration. Simple.

    If there is a problem with that, it’s probably not worth going out to dinner with them again to test the theory that others people’s drinking isn’t a problem for me, clearly in this case, it is. 🙂

  3. 3 Rockzee

    I’m not in that situation much either, but I just got a regretful flashback of being inconsiderate of those who drank less than I did, but expected them to pay equally anyway because I drank too much to notice anyone but myself. Oy. Glad things have changed.


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