Turn the Other Cheek…

I had a VERY interesting situation last night. It was just like any other Wednesday night – my husband, daughter and I go to the same restaurant to play trivia – we have been doing this for over two and a half years, and have probably only missed about 6 Wednesdays throughout that time. My daughter was not there yet as she was still at a sporting event, but my husband and I sat down with our menus and the same waitress we have had for the past few months (others have quit over time) came over to take our drink orders.

Now, last week, we started out with another waitress and of course it was incredibly easy (a no brainer) to order my club soda with cranberry juice withOUT adding on a glass of chardonnay, which always turned into 3 or 4 glasses. What was kinda funny last week was that when our regular waitress started taking care of us mid-way through the evening, her first question to me was if I wanted a glass of chardonnay. “No thanks” I said. “I’m hitting the gym at 5:30 AM so no wine, but thanks!” And all was fine. We got the check (which DID ironically have a glass of chardonnay on it which we got taken off) and still tipped big as if there was still an extra $20 on our tab because we like our waitress a lot.

Until last night. She came over to take our orders. My husband ordered the water that he has each week. I ordered my club soda with cranberry juice. She said “no chardonnay as well?” And I said “no thanks – still hitting the gym.” And then – from HER – “I don’t like the new sober you.” I do believe my jaw dropped and my husband had the same look. I mumbled something about the gym again, and she left to grab our non-alcoholic drinks.

That was when I took myself out of myself and thought things through. This is a 22 year old (or so) young girl who has absolutely no idea of the impact of what she just said. She did not mean it personally and I KNOW that I am just as fun (if not funner) by not having alcohol. She may have simply seen it from a financial standpoing – $20 worth of wine equals an extra $4 in tips – so she was just being practical. Maybe the rent was due.

I did of course go back and forth between being PISSED OFF and wanting to cry. But I decided to make it a learning experience as well. Friends of mine might say something similar, so I’m going to be working on witty comebacks if it happens in the future so that I am not caught off guard with my jaw dropped. It made me realize that people say things they don’t really mean – and I HAVE TO brush it off. Turn the other cheek. If it were to happen again, I would definitely address it, because I am now armed with that possibility.

When we got our check ($20 less than with my wine), my husband was working out the tip. We have ALWAYS tipped HUGE, again, b/c this place is not known for its service, and we do get good service with this gal. But last night was different. He truly wanted to punish her for what she said. We went back and forth, and we did still end up tipping her over 20%. I figured let’s chalk that up to ignorance, and if it is an issue in the future, we will determine how we want to act.

This is a bit of a babble, but I guess the bottom line is that my feelings were truly HURT by this flippant remark – HOWEVER – I was able to not get worked up into a frenzy over it. Honestly, a few weeks ago, I think I would have ordered a shot just to prove her wrong. This time I KNEW she was wrong. I am a happy and fun sober person. Each experience out in the real world helps me gain extra confidence and I was not going to let this isolated event change my mindset.

Tonight is my book club and I am already armed with my plan. It’s not that book club is a bunch of binge drinkers, but wine will be served. Seriously – no biggie. My choice is to indulge myself in club soda with diet cranberry juice. That is what I CHOOSE. I will be ready for any kind of remark that comes my way, realizing and knowing that anything that is said is NOT personal. I am responsible for myself.

One last note. Our AA meeting today talked about the word “powerless” which is part of the first step, but I gotta say, I have a real issue with that word. I understand that there are some things that I have little to no control over; however, I feel like I can’t ONLY sit back and give it to God and pray about it. It is also my responsibility to use MY power to do something about it. For instance, getting my brother out of the facility that he signed himself into is proving to be MUCH more difficult than I ever imagined. He has been there over 72 hours now and we both want him out. In ADDITION to my prayers and my semi-surrender to God, I also need to take the steps I need to take – making phone calls to the doctor and case worker. Keeping in touch with my brother. Asking the right questions. I may not have ALL the power, but I do have my own power.

Same with being powerless over alcohol. I’m sorry but I don’t COMPLETELY agree with this. I do agree that to a certain extent I don’t have power over alcohol; however, I can take the necessary steps to build power over it. This includes blogging here, emailing with sober buddies, going to AA meetings, calling/texting my AA buddies, confiding in my husband, exercising, praying, listening to music. These are all activities that help me to GAIN power over my enemy, alcohol. I get it – I really do – once I do drink, that’s when I have no power. But if I use my tools to NOT drink, am I truly powerless?

Food for thought – all input is welcome. And tip your waiters and waitresses big. I was in that industry for over 10 years and it is hard work – even if they are young and naive and uneducated on the dangers of alcohol. They will learn a lot of life lessons by serving…some good, some bad, some they don’t even know they learned.

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7 thoughts on “Turn the Other Cheek…

  1. Great post.

    1) the thing with the server…great insight into the whole situation. Early on we are much more sensitive than we are when we have some time under our belt. All the things you mentioned about why she may have said that are very possible. In the end, it’s about letting it go. I had someone say that to me too – a guy that knew me in my drinking days. We were working together and he said that I was more fun when I drank. But I had to remember that he only saw a small portion of me. He didn’t see the shaking in the morning me, the vomiting me, the chugging vodka in the washroom stall me, the blackout me, the drinking and driving me…so it was just a matter of smiling and moving on. No need for catchy comebacks or zingers. I just smile, mention this is the real me and get on with things. Most people really don’t care whether we drink or not. But I understand how this affected you. It’s a learning experience and will get easier with time.

    2) The powerless thing. This has been popping up lately in the blogosphere and in the rooms for some reason. I feel that when it comes down to it, powerless does NOT mean weak. I think that is where some people get caught up. There are times where we *do* just sit back and let the Big Guy take it on His shoulders (like that server’s comments), but more often, we have legwork to do! There are things I need to do – go to meetings, work the steps, meet with my sponsees, my sponsor, pray, meditate…I also blog, talk to newcomers, talk at my old treatment center, etc. These are things that are my recovery. I can’t just sit in my darkened room and pray for these things to happen – I have to do things.

    You mention as alcohol as the enemy…but remember, we no longer fight alcohol. We have surrendered. The step 10 promises tells us that we cease fighting anything and anyone, including alcohol. So for me it’s not about shoring up my army to conquer alcohol. I surrender, give it to God, He takes the obsession away through me doing the steps. It’s pretty much that simple.

    Your actions towards the server was fantastic. You attitude was where it started…your perception. And that’s where we start, eh?

    wonderful stuff 🙂

    Paul

  2. Great post mystery girl! Ugh that waitress!!! I waited tables to put me through college and I too am a sucker even I get bad service. I still tip 20%. you are sooooo much stronger than I am! I couldn’t have done trivia night OR book club. Awesome.

  3. I can dig it. I have had comments from familiar waiters and like you I have always tried to tip well. Back then my tips were almost solely based on whether there was enough alcohol on the table and if back up drinks had been quickly and quietly been placed in the system. If I had a new waiter I made certain to train him during the process and if he responded well I left him an extra large tip so that next time he knew the score. If I did my job properly I could walk into any of my more frequented bars or restuarants and be served drinks promptly and discreetly.. So now I do hear a comment or two about no alcohol. But I figure I have it coming. After all I did train them. And I reinforced that training with continued tips for a job well done. If they ask I say, ya know, it just got to be too much but I have always appreciated your service and kindness. We enjoy sitting at your table. Life goes on.
    Thanks for your post!

  4. Whoah. God, doesn’t that just say a ton about the general societal views about drinking and how not drinking = no fun. Really, WTF difference does it make to her unless her tip had really suddenly shrunk massively, which it doesn’t even sound like it HAD. Good job processing this. We have to let these things slide off our shoulders. I’ve had the odd hurtful remark too and it can really get under your skin if you let it but better not to let it, hey? We know what we know and you don’t need some 20-year-old waitress to approve of you anyhow.

    However, I would say that if she says something again maybe it’s time to put your foot down. I’d think about saying something like, “I know you’re joking but that’s inappropriate. For all you know I’ve just gotten out of rehab/have a serious medical condition/am pregnant and don’t want to announce it to the world etc”. A little education never hurt anyone.

  5. Great post indeed. I’m about to head to a wedding with a boozy crowd that includes the one person who has ever said to me that they missed drinking with me. Ignorance is what it is, and in my friends case – self absorbtion. I don’t think that waitress has any idea to be careful about commenting on other people’s drinking. Bravo you for not getting worked up. Let it go is the right attitude, we can’t control everything that comes out of other people’s mouths.. but we can control how we react. Sounds to me like you are doing fabulously!!

  6. i am so sorry that your waitress said that to you! that’s about twenty kinds of awkward on her part. hopefully after she walked away she dislodged the foot from her mouth! good for you for tipping her anyway.. not that she totally deserved it but way to be the bigger person!

    i hope things improve for your brother. that does not sound like an easy situation at all, but he is very lucky to have such a sister! sending you good energy!

  7. Great post!!! Good for you for realizing it for what it was and moving on. Letting go is always so hard for me. especially this week the first week I haven’t had alcohol I feel so raw, so sensitive. I love Mrs D’s response “we can’t control everything that comes out of other people’s mouths.. but we can control how we react.” I think I will repeat this to myself lots of times tonight at work 🙂 Have a great night and I hope all goes well with your brother.

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