A few months ago I was at a fixed menu dinner for work and I had glanced at the menu not really thinking about booze and agreed that it was fine for me — indeed it looked like a great meal with a number of delectable items that I’d surely enjoy. Everything was perfect until I put a spoonful of the vanilla ice cream that accompanied the pecan pie in my mouth. It was made with bourbon.

I was irritated because I hadn’t read the menu carefully. And why does ice cream need bourbon in it? I was sitting next to the sales guy from my my last job and he looked at me, knowing instantly what was wrong, he asked if I was okay and I took a few deep breaths. I said I was as I pushed the ice cream off the pie and took a sip of my coffee. It was in important lesson in vigilance for me.

Yesterday I went to a 50th birthday party for one of my wife’s friends. They’ve known each other for 48 years and if was a great day. To make life easier on themselves they’d hired a pizza maker and a a bartender for the party. The bar had a drink on their menu that was muddled berries with club soda and vodka. I asked for a virgin one because I typically drink club soda anyway.

Fortunately I was watching as the bartender made my drink. She was busy and I know it wasn’t intentional when she instinctively started pouring vodka in my drink. I piped up, probably a bit louder than necessary, “that’s suppose to be virgin!” She apologized and I told her not to worry about it. But I drank water the rest of the day.

Vigilance is being aware of what is going on. It means reading the menu. It means watching your drink get made. It means ordering your son drinks at parties and happy hours. It means never leaving your drink on the table or bar when you are not looking at it. I means paying attention. Awareness. Mindfulness.

I have to be hyper-vigilant at times and truthfully, it can be exhausting. Combine this hyper-vigilance with the fact that I’m an introvert (all be it a social one) and it’s no wonder work functions and to parties are so exhausting for me.

I’ve been feeling worn out today and it’s no wonder. So I’m honoring these feelings and giving myself space to recover.