So, on Friday night I hosted The Party.
I haven't thrown a big evening drinks party for years. Hosting a party and getting totally plastered yourself are - I'd discovered - rather incompatible, and I couldn't really imagine a party without the latter.
But a big party was, I'd felt, in order.
I wanted to celebrate my birthday (last week), a year sober (this week), and surviving cancer. So I booked a private room above a swanky restaurant for drinks and canapes for seventy five of my friends.
The day leading up to the Big Event I had serious wobbles.
I thought what on earth am I doing throwing a party when I can't even have one glass of champagne to take the edge off? It's too soon! I'm crazy. Plus my dress is all wrong, but I can't afford to buy a new one. In fact, I can't afford the party at all. And no-one's going to have any fun. CANCEL THE WHOLE THING!
I had that squirming knot of anxiety in my stomach all day - the one that I would have drowned out with booze, back in the drinking days. Which is why I'd stopped having parties.
I would have had a glass or two of vino at lunch time (to quieten down the squirming snakes), then another two 'sharpeners' while getting ready. Then at least two while waiting for people to arrive. I'd have hit my 'perfect drunkenness' by about 7.30pm, so by 9pm it'd be seriously messy.
But on Friday I lived with the restless serpents.
I reminded myself that absolutely everything that is really worth doing and game changing in life is accompanied by that feeling.
If you are avoiding anxiety you are not properly living.
I felt the same before every job interview, every date, before getting married, before giving birth, before going off backpacking.
Where would I be now if I'd avoided doing all of those things (or got totally drunk beforehand)?
Anxiety is a sign that you're pushing boundaries, moving forward, grabbing life by the balls. IT IS GOOD.
Mr SM and I turned up ten minutes early, and sat on our own in a big, echoing room for twenty minutes while I sipped my virgin mojito and muttered, through gritted teeth, "nobody's coming!"
An hour later the place was heaving. People exclaiming over old friends, making new ones. I worked the room - chatting to everybody. Introducing people. Feeling the thrill of a party where I knew everyone!
Then, I stood up on a chair (couldn't have done that drunk!) and made a speech, thanking all my friends for their support and help through the cancer thing. I made everyone laugh. I felt the waves of goodwill.
Everyone said I 'looked amazing.' I know they kind of have to say that to the lady who's paying the bar bill and has just recovered from cancer, but I honestly think they meant it. Because - apart from anything else - I'm 21 pounds lighter than this time last year.
Then, at midnight, the bar closed. We had some friends from Scotland staying with us for the event. The four of us walked out onto the street where my car was parked, bang smack outside.
Five minutes into the journey Mr Scot suddenly sat up and yelled "Good God, SM, you're driving! I thought we were in a taxi!"
We got home and paid the babysitter, then the other three had a nightcap while I brewed up a green tea. We exchanged notes about the evening, and I went to bed so buzzed that I couldn't sleep until 2am.
Yesterday I was exhausted, but in a good way - not that awful, toxic, hungover tiredness, but a bone deep, honest exhaustion.
And I honestly can't remember the last time I enjoyed a party more. Yet I'd been totally sober for the whole five hours.
Love SM x