well, except it was. a problem, that is. and wanted to off load here before it fades both to try and understand it and to record for future.
firstly rest assured no wagon-toppling involved here. no tug towards wanting alcohol last night either. also no thoughtless wisecracks about my lack of drinking, as pre-fretted about (although there were other thoughtless remarks made by a friend whose Prosecco outweighed her judgement, which didn’t exactly help).
what there was, was an overwhelming sensation of being the odd one out.
and I was really surprised by that. was with a large group of mostly old friends, the majority of whom know quite well that I don’t drink now. the hosts were being brilliant, having made sure without making a fuss that there was a wide choice of AF drinks in when I arrived (brought my own too just in case) and also similarly without drama topping me up with the right stuff.
it was during the hour or so as everyone was arriving clutching their bottles of booze and the hilarity mounted rapidly as each couple were served with fizz. and I didn’t want the fizz but I wanted to be… inside. not outside, looking in.
after about half an hour I went on a hunt for a clean champagne glass for myself to put something AF into and couldn’t find one. so settled for wine glass which made me feel slightly less out of it.
really taken aback by this, tbh. thought I would handle last night with much less difficulty than I actually did. and it wasn’t down to anyone else’s actions. it was my own reaction to an event which went pretty much as I expected – no-one drinking to vast excess… I would have been drinking more than most of the others did last night, back in the day.
am realising that it was, in effect, my first, and most full-on New Year. (last year stayed in). and the expectation that I would breeze through it was, in hindsight, unrealistic.
I had my sober tool belt nicely full, nonetheless.
pulled out all the usuals- AF drinks, disappearing to loo, eating three helpings of pudding 😉 in the end texting and emailing sober buddies [THANK YOU THANK YOU] kept me sane enough to keep smiling though it and get some enjoyment out of the evening.
one thing I considered doing in advance and decided against was taking along some AF champagne. decided against it because I was worried I would put down my glass and not be able to recognise it… but with joy of hindsight, if I had had some last night I might have not felt so left out.
what I was feeling, I think, was very much like what my teenaged son was experiencing: an enforced acclimatisation to the social demands being made upon me in swift succession. and I was not much older than he is now when I discovered that, oh look, a gin and orange make all those feelings of trepidation melt away.. good god. gin and orange squash I’m pretty sure it was, back in those days, ugh ugh ugh….
and just dealing with those feelings of social isolation and trepidation were hard enough. for anyone reading this who dealt with those last night WHILE still simultaneously fighting off the urge to drink: you have my whole-hearted admiration. seriously. you are bloody amazing.
and can I just re-iterate that these were almost all people whom I know really well and have great affection for?! bloody hell, what would I be like with strangers?! or maybe that would be easier?
on the plus side, I:
- didn’t drink
- didn’t want to drink
- answered the one question – about whether I was not drinking just tonight, or as a permanent thing – without batting an eyelid or over-explaining myself
- got through it. so it will be easier, surely, next time?
and I do want there to be a next time. I want to be able to partake in a normal social life and enjoy it. I don’t need the alcohol per se. but apparently I need to learn how to relax into a social occasion a bit, without the alcohol. what I was saying in my last post about finding ways of dealing with things that work better than alcohol? well, I clearly haven’t found that way yet, for me, for this social scenario. this goes back to what I was saying recently about finding out who I am without the booze. a little more introvert than perhaps I had realised? interesting thought….
oh well. silly season over now. hurrah for January! and hurrah for the start of school next week 😉