Saturday, 2 May 2015

Two months - tartan and tiaras

TWO MONTHS TODAY! I can't quite believe it. And there have been a few times recently when I have glimpsed light at the end of the tunnel (followed often by moments of uncontrollable weeping, but - hell - it's progress....)

If I was doing AA they'd give me a token today. Do you think I can just turn up and collect one without having to do all the sharing stuff?

I've also just noticed that this is my FIFTIETH blog post. How on earth have I managed to find fifty different ways to talk about essentially the same thing? How much longer can I keep going before I totally run out of anything interesting to say? How can I possibly imagine that I don't have a relationship issue with booze when my obsession is mapped out over fifty individual essays?

So, last night Mr SM and I went to a Scottish Ball in a grand London ballroom. This event was established for the Scottish aristos to celebrate the start of the London season over 150 years ago, and it's remained pretty much unchanged.

Men wear kilts, ladies wear floor length dresses and clan tartan sashes. It's all titles, tiaras and Tatler photographers. The evening kicks off with champagne at 7pm, a 3 course dinner, and then pipers and drummers march through the ballroom to kick off the dancing.

The dances are all traditional Scottish reels, and the ladies have a dance card so they can remember who they're dancing with next. Dancing stops at 1am for a huge breakfast, then carries on until 3.30am.

I've been going to the event for over twenty years. Needless to say, I've never considered doing it sober! I was terrified.

I learned several things last night:

(1) There's no need to decline drink - it just draws attention to the whole thing, and every time a new waiter appears you have to go through the same rigmarole. I let them fill up my white wine glass, then the red wine glass, and I just left them there. All through dinner. No-one even noticed. The only problem was trying not to pick up the white wine rather than water by accident - I'm not sure I could have put it back down if I'd accidently drunk a mouthful.

(2) Yet again it struck me that most people do not drink very much. Who knew? It seems as if, at some point, most people started cutting down on their alcohol consumption and I just kept going. While everyone else was growing out of alcohol, I was growing into it. Was it obvious to everyone? Did they all comment on it behind my back? Aarrrgggghhhh.

(3) It's scary doing a huge event like this 'raw', but wonderful to find that by the end you're still wide awake - pumped up by adrenaline, not soporific through alcohol, you can remember all the steps and everyone's names, and you don't get horribly dizzy every time someone spins you round.

(4) Without the anaesthetising effects of alcohol your feet start to hurt horribly after a couple of hours. Never knew that.

(5) The next day is still terribly painful, but only because every muscle in your body aches. Previously the pain in my head had always overshadowed everything else. This is a good, virtuous, victorious pain. And I'm exhausted because I danced until 3am, not because I woke up at 3am tossing and turning and sweating booze. It's an honest, bone deep tiredness, not my old general weariness with life.

Waking up feeling proud of myself rather than ashamed of myself is still a joy, even two months down the line.

And, in case you're wondering, it's true. A proper Scot never wears anything under his kilt.

Have a great weekend everyone!

SM x


  1. Haha you are so true in everything you say (apart from the getting boring bit). I love the idea of having a Mr SM - lucky lady! 9 weeks and 1 day for me. Got my first sober music festival in a few weeks. That'll be a first! x

  2. P.s well done on 2 months! It's hard work sometimes but it's worth it. x

    1. Thanks Lushnomore! Now you are all sober, gorgeous and zen maybe Mr Lushnomore will turn up at the music festival ;-) x

  3. There is a Mr Lushnomore but that speaks volumes hehehe x

  4. Before I get a name for myself I'll explain where this is coming from. Been together 21 yrs. 2 gorgeous kids. Love my husband with all my heart. But he drives me up the wall sometimes and we've lost that spark (closeness). He's always had a go at me for my drinking rather than being understanding because....I realise now....he didn't understand. The problem was neither did I. So there's years of sadness, regret, bad times to properly deal with now I'm sober. The easiest thing would be to carry on drinking to blot it out. But I can't do that to myself or my husband anymore. It's a tough road we are on. x

    1. 21 years! That's amazing. It is hard, but going through all the ups and downs is what'll make us better, stronger people at the end of it. And then you can fall in love with your husband - and he with you - all over again.... You're going great LNM x

  5. well done, you are an inspiration. have a great weekend x

  6. Well done sm and it sounds a fab night !! I'm feeling rather chuffed with myself tonight too we had a BBQ ( very British on a chilly bank holiday) with all of our very best friends and their children at our friends farm ( complete with a pool and tennis court) I drove there with my two AF beers tucked in my handbag and had a brilliant brilliant day ! The best part was at the end when I was sober and remembered to pack all of our belongings away ( wet towels and tennis rackets etc) not to be slurring my goodbyes and not bundling into a taxi with my other half and son - no I skipped to my car and drove us all home with a big smile on my face ( teeth shiney white and not stained by red wine !!) I'm loving this new sober me :-) and the best part will be tomorrow morning with no hangover or wondering if I said or did anything embarrassing !! Happy days x x

    1. Yay! Well done Kags! That's brilliant!
      I'm so pleased for you xxx