Fa lala la la la la la la la.
I went to my teams Christmas meal last Tuesday lunchtime. It was nice – the food was reasonable given the size of the party and per head cost and the service reasonably efficient getting everybody served quickly. The company was nice learning something new about some of my colleagues – apparently “peanutting” was only something that happened in Kent schools. Both Kent born and bred fellows knew what it was all others were just blank stares. (Briefly the game of getting hold of someone’s tie and pulling it quickly and viciously into a really small tight knot that normally just had to be cut off you.)
Anyway the first course came, the second and then the sweet. I was ok sipping my large coke through that. Then the plates were cleared and additional drinks were ordered. Now I’ve been away from drink for 12.5 years, I have no interest in drinking at all, it hardly ever registers other than my daily acknowledgement that I’m an alcoholic and that I’m not planning to drink today and that I remind myself regularly of all that. But then there are the “normal” people, the sensible ones all ordering more drinks and the Director giving permission for people to stay away from the office for the afternoon. There it was in my ear like a shot. “Well maybe you could just have one?” Where did that come from? Simple I’ll never be done with remaining vigilant in my abstinence. I made an excuse about needing to get back to the office for something and left.
I’m so grateful that stuck in my head are the memories of what drinking was like for me and what I know it’ll be like again – lonely, desperate, despairing, horrible, paralysing, regressive etc. And grateful for hearing others share about when they walked away and very much grateful to the horror stories of those that didn’t walk away at that point. That’s why I have to remind myself repeatedly that I’m an alcoholic who can never drink safely again. It will sit there silent on my shoulder waiting for another opportunity like that and I have to be vigilant and willing to tackle it when it does.