In the last few weeks I have managed some full on drinking situations, without having a drink!
The first of these was a big, huge affair. Two of my friends had a joint 50th Birthday Party. It was at a country park, and they had hired marquees, bands, there was a hog roast, specially made cake, and, of course lots and lots of booze! The effect was that of a festival, really and it was a very exciting and jolly event. I had a great time, and saw people that I had not seen for a long time. I think everyone there was drinking, at least a little. I passed through the whole afternoon and evening and barely even hankered after a drink! There was one point when a gang of former drunken playmates were doing rounds of tequila slammers, along with the salt and lime, to much hilarity and boisterousness, when I had a wistful pang, but apart from that the evening passed very pleasantly, and I left at about half past midnight and drove home. This I was especially pleased about, it being the 30th of September and almost everyone else was camping. The day had been pleasant and sunny, but the evening had seen a definite drop in temperature. Yes, I was extremely pleased to be in tucked up under my goose down duvet at 1.30! I had a few people congratulate me, and appear to look at me with a new respect for the fact I was not drinking, which was nice. Oh, and I did get somewhat irritated by the drunkenness by the end of the evening. A good reminder of what I had once been like (only I was usually much worse, or had passed unconscious by then!)
The second event was in a way more dangerous. Last year, I made several attempts to go sober before I finally succeeded this time. One of the relapses I had was on a night that my close friend came over. He has a drink problem, although he is largely in denial about it. He knows he drinks too much, but he would never call himself ‘addicted’, nor would he consider giving up. Anyway, one of last years relapses was on an evening when this friend came over. Our tradition was to order take away curry, watch some DVD’s and get very drunk together. My friend visited for the first time since that incident, almost exactly a year ago. We ordered take-away curry, and watched some films. He had his stash of beer in my fridge (Special Brew, extra strong beer). I drank tea all evening. And there was not even a moment when I was wistful about our previous drunken evenings, or had a craving to be doing what he was doing. It was, in fact, not until I went to bed with my sleepy time tea that I realised I had not even had an urge to drink all evening! Oh how times have changed!
This is not to say I am home and dry, and I am aware I must stay vigilant, and not become complacent. But these two incidents were certainly minor victories in the ongoing battle of recovery. Well done me :)