Today I met up with one of my oldest friends, we planned a day at an event we have attended together, every year, for several years. As we don’t live very close to one another any longer, the day needs planning and involves traveling for us both. I look forward to seeing her, and having a catch up.
Every year we arrive when the event opens, around 10 am. We look around, make a few purchases, maybe do some research into something we are interested in, we mooch around the exhibitions stands, chatting and sharing news. At about 11.30, one or other of us suggests ” getting a drink”… For most people this would mean a coffee, for us it meant a Pimms, a glass of champagne
usually turned in to a bottle because it’s ‘better value’ . This mid morning chaser would be followed at 2 pm ish by lunch; and lunch would be accompanied by two bottles of wine, more Pimms, a G & T …until at 5 pm we would stagger out, rushing for transport connections , more than a little drunk.
I intended not to drink today, I had no desire to and I knew that my friend would be fine with that. Although she has Been my willing partner in many many heavy drinking sessions, I believe she has an off switch, and that she drinks moderately most of the time. Nevertheless I was a little apprehensive about returning to a place so strongly associated drinking, with drink so readily available, with someone who didn’t know I had committed to sobriety. The opportunity to break my promise would definitely be there.
And it was hard in places. Watching others drinking Pimms, remembering the nice buzz of the first drink, triggered lots of nostalgia, and not a small internal debate about ‘special occasions’ and ‘one offs’ and ‘ one won’t hurt’….I was the one to suggest a drink, and my friend – remembering, as I did, what this innocent sounding idea was code for – agreed. The internal debate intensified .. ‘ I could just have ONE ‘ … ‘Seems unfair for her to have to drink alone’ … ‘Me being sober will spoil the day’ …
We get to the area where food and drink is served. Deep breath. “Actually I’ll have a coffee, I’m not drinking at the moment’
Phew. Done. Been straight, turned my back on temptation and made the RIGHT decision.
The rest of the day was straightforward, no more temptation, Diet Coke for lunch, and tea and cake later on. No worries. And now, at home I am SO GLAD I did not drink.
So what have I learned?
- I was under prepared for today. On reflection I should have told my friend weeks ago that I was not drinking. Why didn’t I ? A cynic would say it was to leave the option open for an occasion such as today…
- I HAVE learned some useful lessons from my last sober spell. Those thoughts about ‘special occasions’ were exactly what undid me last time. To be successfully long term sober you have to NOT DRINK, at all, ever, full stop. That includes “special occasions” !
- The day was not ruined, my friend was not pissed off, we had a good time. And now I feel so so much better than if I were drunk.
Day 120. Feels like a significant hurdle has been successfully negotiated. I am at peace.