5 Ways to Reassociate Drunk Dating Habits-My Theatre Experience

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I've been through the everyday drinking habits and I've conquered them with the greatest of ease. I laughed out loud at that, too. Not one thing about sobriety has been with the greatest of ease. The every day sitting on your sofa reward after you've completed your to-do list drinking was VERY DIFFICULT to quit. But, what about the moments that are less frequent, less routine? There are dates that you went on where you ALWAYS had a glass of wine or a cocktail. For me, it was every date. And, it was especially the theatre.  

Sober me went to the theatre this week. My boyfriend surprised me with tickets to see Aladdin to celebrate my one year soberversary. I love the theatre. I used to go once a month, always having drinks before. I haven't been in a year. Yeah. I have been focused on other things like not going insane and sitting, standing, sleeping without wine.

In 2016 New York City we went to see An American in Paris. Drinks in Central Park during the day, pre-show drinks at a restaurant, and we barely made it to the Broadway theatre on time. But, wait, I had to have a glass of wine. So, even though everyone was already seated we stopped and ordered 2 glasses of wine. Each glass was over $40 and in a huge tumbler. As the last pair to arrive in the Orchestra Circle we walked through an entire theatre of seated patrons with our two huge tourist tumblers of wine and sat down. We drank through the show. At one point my boyfriend told me no one but me was clapping. I laughed, I cried, we loved it, we told the director how wonderful it was in whatever slurred speech I had and went to a bar! Yup a bar. We made friends with a  random businessman who ordered us a round of shots (I complained that he assumed we wanted shots) and I chatted with his mom on Facetime. Then, we went back to our hotel where we ordered pizza as you do...

Fast forward to today, we made new sober theatre memories at Aladdin the Musical, Cadillac Theatre in Chicago. I have been here many times in downtown Chicago. I have a plethora of drunk memories to overwrite here. For my first sober night at the theatre, I used the Golden Rule of Habit Change, a new routine leads to a new outcome. My advice comes assuming you are with a buddy. Pick your friends/date wisely. People that behave the way you want to behave are essential in reassociating behavior. Old friends, new friends, it doesn't matter as long as they respect your new normal.

1. Plan the restaurant beforehand.

It is fine to be a last minute sort of person, but leave that to after you reassociate your memories to sober ones. It is best to plan at first. You don't want to be walking around memory lane rehashing drunken memories in your head. I can tell you that downtown Chicago looks like trigger city for me memory-wise. I even caught myself talking about how I used to grab bottles of wine in the basement of Macy's to drink on the train. It's ok. I acknowledged that feeling and moved on. 

2. Leave yourself ample time to get to the theatre. 

Being late=stress. Stress=trigger. It is just best to let yourself be comfortably on time.

3. Go for a walk in idle time.

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We finished our meal with 45 minutes to spare so we walked through Millenium Park. This would NOT have happened in my drinking days unless we were stopping to have a drink somewhere close by. We took pics at the Cloudgate (the Bean) and we looked at the art installations. 

4. Come prepared with a drink you love in your handbag.

I brought Diet Coke. The serving size of non-alcoholic drinks is tiny at most theatres. Plus, the sparkling water comes from the mixer section, not a La Croix can. Just be proactive, save yourself the lines and the disappointing non-alcoholic drink.

5. Be aware. 

This was the most awkward thing for me especially because we were sitting in the front row where we could speak to the director. Things that caused me anxiety, talking to strangers, seeing people around me doing their things, and intermission. I recognized these feelings and consciously acknowledged the change. 

I did not have an uncomfortable, I want to drink moment. I loved it. We loved it. It is days later and I still remember the director's name from my sober theatre experience. I could not even tell you 5 minutes after my drunk theatre's show who the director was, even thought we talked to both. I am starting to find every date is better when I am sober mainly because of one reason...I pee less.  

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