Like alot of people, I love spontaneous, giggly, ridiculous nights out with plenty of love and laughter and long deep conversations and debates.So when I decided to be sober for a few months. I was worried. Would I lose the fun in my life? Would I become a complete bore?
The first night out was a surprise. Me and my other non-drinking friend decided to attend out other friends sisters 21st. First test. We entered the club with trepidation and said hello to everyone. After that we stood like awkward statues getting in the way of proper party-goers, the drinking type, and not knowing who to talk to. Usually I would go to get a drink, but this didnt seem as urgent now I knew I wasn’t getting alcohol. “A diet coke,” I heard myself saying. I know, I know I thought. It even sounded lame.
My friends boyfriend commented that I looked scared when he greeted me. I was. Our friend, whose sisters 21st it was, seemed kind of bummed when she found out neither of us were drinking, though she didn’t rub it in. And was it me, or did I suddenly feel like a killjoy? I wasn’t used to this. It was used to being 3am Sambucca Sinead perhaps, but not Boring Betty – never Boring Betty. It was a strange feeling. I had to tell her something to explain so I said with an apologetic smile that I was on antibiotics. This was half true. I had finished them that morning. The music was pumping and people all looked so happy.
Then came a series of the worst tests ever. First my friends sister whose 21st it was approached me with a crouching tiger, hidden naggin. She invited us to the loos to have some of her stashed vodka. Now this was tough. Stashed vodka is my forte. I used to do it all the time, so this was like dangling chocolate in front of a child and telling them not to eat it. I wanted with all my heart to follow her and get her to pour the fine glory into my glass. But instead I stood firm looking wishfully at them as they retreated to the loo. Next, my friend told me she was getting 8 jagerbombs. I was soooo jealous.
I am also off all sugar, and that was the next test. My friends mother walked up to me with a tray of chocolate cake. “You want a piece of cake?” she asked. “No thanks, I won’t” I replied salivating. “Ah go on,” she said. I shook my head, feeling mean. A game of ‘ah go on’- ‘no I’m okay’ ensued until her mother admitted defeat and went onto someone less stubborn then me. I really wanted a piece of cake by now, and a drink. I had another diet coke. We stood in a small sad sober group, me and my two sober friends. “I feel socially inept,” I mentioned to my friend I had come with. She laughed. Seriously, I thought to myself. I hadn’t felt this unsocialable and awkward since I was 15. We decided to go and dance to the cheesy 90s music that was now on. After an awkward five minutes I realised something amazing. We were actually starting to have fun! So I threw myself into dancing. After about ten or fifteen minutes I found myself laughing so much I nearly spat out my coke. After half an hour I was still having fun, and not only that, but I knew I would remember how much fun I had. After an hour I was exhausted. We sat down for a bit. My friend who’s sister was having the party kindly asked us to go over and sit with her friends, acqaintances and family. When we approached the table we got an immediate inquisition. “Why aren’t you drinking??” we were asked. Our friend looked apologetically at us. I told them about the antibiotics. I stuck to this story because telling a drunk person you are detoxing is like pissing into the wind, or asking to be ridiculed (even though I have been drinking for about ten years, and I think am entitled to a two or three month break by now.) My other sober friend wasn’t so lucky. She suffers, like me, physically from alcohol. For me it’s my digestion, for her it’s bad eczema and her skin comes out in a rash. Not much fun at all in the cold light of day. She told them the detox excuse and got asked again why she wasn’t drinking. Eventually she had to tell them about her skin. From the high of our dancing, I could see her getting annoyed at this. If we wanted to not drink, why was it so socially unacceptable? Why were people making us feel so boring and unwanted, or as though we are somehow out to ruin their night by not indulging? Couldn’t we be there and not drink and not get looked at like that? It would appear not. Our friend came over and hugged us both. I could tell she felt bad that we were being harrassed. I totally would have loved to be on her level then. Even to have one or two would have been nice. We went back up and danced some more. Then we left at about 1am, which was early but we were happy, just tired without the false energy of alcohol. I was singing and acting drunk as we walked to the car, even though I had only had 3 diet cokes. I felt delerious from the dancing and hyper from the caffeine. Apart from the mystery of not knowing how I would get home and what would happen at the end of the night, it was the same as any night out. It was safer, I spent hardly any money and I most importantly I had fun. Even better, I woke up feeling fine the next day. I still know in two months or so after I have finished my required detox I will love going back to drink. I enjoy it, life is short and I live by my own rules. My rules say I can drink. But I know I will also appreciate the little things more by then. Like how waking up in the morning feeling good is worth it, like how that chat or that dance I remember was great, or knowing how I got home and that I didn’t offend anyone or act silly. Piece of mind. Knowing I won’t see horrendous photos tagged of me on facebook that I don’t remember being taken. All of those things make the occasional sober night out completely worth it.