Sober In San Francisco: Easier Than It Used To Be

by Bill Brenner on February 26, 2012

The first day in San Francisco for RSA and BSidesSF is done, and I’m happy to report being a lot more comfortable in my sobriety than I’ve been at past conference gatherings.

Mood music:

Right after I got sober at the end of 2009, these networking events were difficult for me. A couple drinks used to loosen my nerves and bring me out of my shell, and it took a long time to learn how to do that without alcohol.

Tonight’s big gathering was at a place called The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar, in the basement of the Fairmont Hotel. I got there early and left early, staying long enough to say hello to as many friends as I could find. I felt at ease and comfortable — significant progress for me.

I might have stayed longer, but a friend needed help getting back to his hotel, so I flagged down a cab and got him back to his room. I was glad I had the mental clarity to do that for him.

Folks in the security community are generally aware of my sobriety at this point, so I didn’t have to worry about friends offering me drinks like last year and the year before. When your skin doesn’t fit right, acts of kindness and friendship — offering a drink, for example — strike you as menacing. Newly sober people are the most uptight individuals on the planet.

I’m thankful to be getting past that stage. Now I can focus on improving other things about myself. But first thing’s first — there’s a conference to cover.

Good night.

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