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