Bry­ony Gor­don

38 Mar­ried to a very pa­tient hus­band Harry, and mother to Edie, five

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - MUM AND ME -

It’s al­ways good to get to Christ­mas Eve-Eve in one piece, I find. It’s even eas­ier to do this when you are sober. Last year, aka my first al­co­hol-free Christ­mas, was spent in a state of ab­ject ter­ror that I would re­lapse. I was in re­hab, which wasn’t ex­actly con­ducive to be­ing re­laxed, but it did at least pro­vide me with a handy ex­cuse when it came to turn­ing down fes­tive party in­vi­ta­tions. This year, I have had no such ex­cuse. Be­ing 15 months sober, peo­ple ex­pect me to be over my fear of par­ties. I had hoped I would be over my fear of par­ties. I had this fan­tasy that Christ­mas would be spent go­ing from shindig to shindig, el­der­flower fizz in hand and spring in my step, with no hang­over to worry about.

But pretty early in the Christ­mas party sea­son, I re­mem­bered that I hate el­der­flower. As soon as some­one handed me one, I wanted to scream, ‘I AM AN AL­CO­HOLIC IN RE­COV­ERY, NOT A FAIRY.’ The other thing I have been re­minded of is how bor­ing it is to stand around in large crowds of peo­ple with­out al­co­hol. You can’t hear what they are say­ing, but even if you could you wouldn’t un­der­stand, be­cause they are all in the fifth di­men­sion of drunk­en­ness.

I used to call De­cem­ber ‘am­a­teurs’ month’, on ac­count of all the peo­ple who couldn’t hack the pace of drink­ing ev­ery night of the week – un­like me, who had been do­ing it all year. Now I feel like the am­a­teur. A sober night out leaves me with an emo­tional hang­over from the ef­fort of deal­ing with drunk peo­ple. I just want to be in bed by 9pm with a good book, truth be told.

In­deed, this Christ­mas, I think the best gift I can give my­self is the knowl­edge that I will never again go to a party un­less I ab­so­lutely have to. I have been wait­ing for my love of par­ties to re­turn, but now I see that it was never ac­tu­ally there in the first place. This is my very own per­sonal epiphany: I am re­al­is­ing, af­ter all this time, that I am ac­tu­ally an in­tro­vert. And it’s OK. It al­ways was.

I’ve been re­minded of how bor­ing it is to stand around in large crowds with­out al­co­hol

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