Had a fantastic weekend with some old friends visiting us. After my husband, the wife is probably one of the two or three people I have spoken to most about my decision to stop drinking, right from the start. I was wondering before they came what I would say if she brought it up. I didn’t bring it up (and didn’t drink, either. obv.) She didn’t bring it up, so it didn’t get discussed at all over the entire weekend.

They aren’t big drinkers. There was a moment on Saturday early afternoon (5pm?) when she announced that she thought it was wine o’clock, and the rest of them had a bottle of Prosecco. I had a big glass of cranberry and tonic and no-one commented. Then there was wine and pudding wine with dinner, and wine at Sunday lunch, and I had pink lemonade with the kids. Again, no comment.

I am slightly disgruntled because I don’t WANT people to be quizzing me about it, how it’s going, how long has it been now. But at the same time it feels odd that no-one mentions it. I obviously want to have my cake and eat it too.

Maybe it’s just that they didn’t know how to mention it subtly and left it to me to talk about if I wanted to? There are parallels here I think with chronic illness or bereavement. Just because you don’t know the ‘right’ words doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say something, however trite.

And she is a really old friend with whom I discuss loads of stuff. It feels really odd that I don’t want to talk to her about this. My reluctance comes from two places: firstly my desire for privacy and it not getting round our mutual friends that I ‘have a problem’ – argh! – and secondly because of my utter conviction that she wouldn’t, really wouldn’t understand. I know her well enough to know that she doesn’t have an alcohol dependence. She likes the odd social drink and that is it.

The oddest point of the weekend was when we were catching up on the doings of mutual friends, whom I have as FB friends and she sees far more frequently, and it was on the tip of my tongue to say, “Oh, and wasn’t it so sad about… (something that happened in blogland)”.

I live in a very odd world with ‘real’ friends, ‘real’ friends who I also keep up with online, and sobersphere friends I have made online. My sobersphere friends have helped me in ways that my physical friends never could. I wish I could tell my physical friends about you all because you are all AMAZING in your different ways, but that would destroy the safe protected place I have built myself here.

I didn’t tell my friend about my blogging. I hope if she knew about it she would understand why and not be hurt. As real life friends we do not have to appreciate every aspect of one another’s lives. For example, I don’t expect her to ‘get’ my running. And she adores opera whereas you would have to actually nail me to a chair to get me to sit through one. (Opera attendances in my life so far: one. And that’s the way it’s going to stay.)

I did have one useful thought while watching the bubbles rise to the top of everyone else’s Prosecco glasses. When Wolfie whispered, “Don’t you feel left out because you can’t have just one?” I found the reply, “I always used to feel left out because I wanted more than one. This way is better.”

Onwards and upwards, lovely imaginary friends πŸ˜‰