could give you three hundred and thirty three reasons why being sober is fantastic but let’s stick to three micro-reasons now, and hope three anecdotes add up to a post 😉
went out to dinner recently with some folks whom I see frequently but don’t often socialise with. when accepting invitation I did manage to say without too much awkwardness, “By the way, I’m not drinking these days.” and leave it at that. I am trying out a matter of fact, almost plonking approach to such statements, rather than leaving it open-ended and hence a subject for discussion.
I knew all the people attending would be good friends but still felt nervous about it, based on the previous dinner party I attended, where there was a fair bit of me sitting frozen faced while the others got legless. also because the DP format really doesn’t allow for a swift exit if you’ve had enough.
but I was so touched and pleased at how well it went. we arrived first and I was offered a choice of non-alcoholic drinks – lovely fresh orange and mango juice or elderflower. offering a non-alcoholic choice is something really important, I’ve decided. you would always offer drinkers a choice, yes? and it was offered in a way which made me feel that they appreciated that, and had made sure there was something delicious for me, too, because I was no less worthy of attention than anyone else.
it was done very practically, without in any way making a fuss or singling me out. and no-one offered me wine during the meal making me turn it down – had been through this with the other guest couple at their DP last, golly, December – which thinking about it was my first one sober.
with hindsight, I also enjoyed the evening because it became obvious that it wasn’t just a vehicle for getting pissed up, unlike the frozen vs legless DP. the point of it was the conversation and the food, not the booze. I had a fantastic time. it was the first sober DP I have actively enjoyed. so, it is possible!
picked up one of the kids from an after-school match the other day. when it’s an away match he texts me when they’re ten minutes away as the time can vary quite a lot depending on the distance from home and the quality and quantity of the after-match tea 🙂
so on Tuesday I got the text at about 6.50 and was sitting in my car waiting when the coach drew up. my son was sitting on the front seat of the coach and so saw me as it pulled in and grinned to see me there. at which point a huge wave of delight swept over me. because this time last year I would have been fretting about what time he would get in, plotting whether I could fit in a drink between getting home and serving supper, resenting the time I had to wait after my usual time to open a bottle. and that was my normal. shudder.
none of that, now. Mum waiting with a smile, whatever time it is. priceless.
why do the Big Conversations always happen on the school run? I switch from ‘whereAREallthesocksanywayandwhydidn’tyoutellmeyouneededthisslipsignedlastnight’ mode to answering the really burning questions, like: “why ARE gay people gay?” sometimes I swear you can actually hear my mental gears crashing…
on Monday my daughter started telling me about the school’s teaching on drugs. apparently her class has been practising role plays on what to do if they are offered drugs by a good friend. and I am glad they are doing this while deploring the necessity for this in our primary schools. gah.
and one of the reasons schools teaching it is a good idea is that it opens up avenues for conversations with parents. and I don’t do this every time, but it seemed a good opportunity to talk to her more about alcohol, too. so I said something, as we walked along, about, “Of course, what some people don’t realise is that alcohol and cigarettes are drugs, too. and that they are addictive, which means that you can start by having a little bit, but by having that you end up wanting more every time, till it gets you into trouble.”
and she replied in a way she often does, stating something she knows perfectly well, looking for confirmation: “Yes, because it’s all right for Daddy to have one or maybe two glasses of wine, but you don’t drink any now, do you?”
could have gone with just the “that’s right, darling” with which I so often respond to these range-confirming questions. but took a deep breath and took it a bit further with her than I ever had previously, after a frantic mental shuffle to find the words to hit the right buttons for her.
“That’s right. partly because it was making me feel unhealthy, but mainly because I decided that I didn’t like not being in charge.”
because, if you knew my daughter, you would appreciate that being in charge is one of her favourite things.
mine, too, now 🙂
32 days to one year.
have a great day, lovely readers! how are you doing today?