Oh my goodness I love this.
On Saturday I met up with my sober sister. She travelled from her home city to London and we spent the day together. We have been on this sobriety journey together almost from the beginning, and have shared a lot of the ups and downs along the way. Our paths have been different yet strikingly similar in parts. She is happily married, I (well you know about that) we both have children, we both have professional careers, we have both struggled with anxiety. Our situations are different, but at the same time, our emotional experiences have been very congruent and she was the first person I have ever met who ‘got’ the whole alcohol issue.
In a lot of ways, meeting V made me believe that I AM an alcoholic. It’s hard to explain to normal drinkers why it’s so impossible for me to “moderate”; “just have one” or “drink sensibly”. I suspect some people have trouble recognising me as an “alcoholic” because on the outside I don’t LOOK like an alcoholic. Now, I know that’s actually luck, that I hadn’t caused the whole thing to come crashing down , simply because I’d been lucky. Not yet, as they say in AA … normal drinkers don’t understand the crushing shame, self disgust and anxiety (why would they, a drink is just a drink for them). Meeting V , she doesn’t LOOK like an alcoholic either, and she too had been lucky, gave me someone to talk to who knew EXACTLY what the burdens of the alcoholic are … and could see them all in me. I didn’t have to pretend or cover up, explain or justify my decision to quit, because she had been there too.
So we went to the Tate, had some lunch and as it was a rainy and miserable afternoon, we decamped to The Connaught Hôtel bar. This is a VERY smart hotel in Mayfair, with doormen, perfumes in the ladies and a person who hands you a cloth towel after you have washed your hands. It also has a pretty extensive alcohol free cocktail list! So we lounged in the bar for the afternoon, eating the (free) olives and crackers and tasting the mock tails : they were delicious, and every bit as good as the real thing😊 see below !
Last week I met a friend for dinner. We live about 40 miles apart and met half way at a lovely small pub. I have known A for more than 30 years and we have had a enormous amount of fun together. In the last five years, despite her not living very far away, we have not met up that often. This is my fault, as I withdrew into myself, I didn’t reach out and ask for help. Even the best of friends can only offer to meet so many times. She had a bad feeling about ExP from the start I think, and he definitely didn’t want me mixing with anyone who might encourage me to question my relationship. When we met for dinner, the years just rolled away, and it was as if this gulf had never opened. The affection and staunch support, the genuine wish from us both to stay connected and support each other were balm to my battered soul. We had a wonderful evening, every bit as wonderful as the many we have washed down with Sav Blanc, or gluwein in the Alps. I felt restored, uplifted and renewed by this evening and I genuinely hope we will have many more in the weeks and months to come. And the food was just delicious 😊
Today I am meeting an AA friend for coffee. She is bringing (maybe) two other new ladies… new friendship, new connection.
I feel very, very blessed. And grateful.