If there is a place on earth for which I hold more disdain than Las Vegas, I have yet to see it. In truth, Vegas was never my place even when I was a drinker. Sure, I had some wild times here, and even a few that might be considered fun, but on the whole it’s loud and obnoxious and the main point in Vegas is debauchery. And still, I come to Vegas at least twice a year for my job. Believe me, it’s not by choice. It’s hard to be a sober guy in Sin City.
I’m here for my company’s annual Sales Kick Off which is part hype machine, part celebration, part learning, and part marathon. I’m surrounded by people who are pushing the limits of their bodies with drugs, alcohol, and PowerPoint. I spent the past two nights hanging out with coworkers and genuinely had a good time with them but I’m pretty well done at this point. There’s only so much hanging around in a party atmosphere I can take these days.
We’ve got very full days here. The first session is at eight in the morning and we go until six at night, followed by dinner and a party. This is just part of the job when you’re in sales. And it could be miserable for a guy in recovery, but I don’t let that happen.
I knew I needed a plan to keep my sanity here, so I made the commitment to myself that I would leave the socializing events as soon as I felt it was time and I planned to find a few meals that weren’t provided by the company — all the meals are buffet style at these things, it’s the only way to feed several thousand people. I was especially encouraged after a friend on twitter told me about a few good spots in my hotel, including an Asian noodle spot. I’ve made a point of getting some good meals instead of the buffet and passed appetizers that are on offer at the social functions.
On the first night, I didn’t keep my commitment to myself and I stayed out with the boys longer than I should have. As the conversation got repetitive and the drinking got harder I hung out as if I were trying to prove something. This was a mistake. I found myself questioning why I was hanging out. When I found the idea of a drink starting to sound good I made my way to the room. I was pretty worn out the next day. Social Fatigue had set in and taken it’s toll. Last night, I was truer to myself and bailed early. I was in bed and asleep by 9:30. It was good. Let me tell you, dealing with an 8:00 start is much easier without a hangover.
Tonight, I skipped the social event and instead had a date with myself. I made it to the noodle place, and ate some really great soup. Then I went to see Jackson Browne play in the Venetian Theater. Man, what a show! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a dude in his seventies play his heart out. He played a number of his greatest songs. It was artful and beautify.
I was most certainly the youngest person in the audience, and I’m sure some of the septuagenarians were wondering what the hell I was doing there all by my self, but I felt right at home. It’s so good to be comfortable in my own skin. I never would have done this when I was drinking. The idea of going to a concert by myself would have been horrifying. But not these days. These days, it’s great. Several times during the show, I thought to myself that I was exactly where I was supposed to be tonight. I was taking in great music, stone cold sober, and enjoying myself. For once, I felt like I actually belonged in Vegas and that it might not be such an awful town.