Sunday, 22 May 2016

Being Square

One of the big things you have to do when you get sober is to re-adjust the image you have of yourself.

I've always seen myself as a rebel. A bit naughty. Slightly wild. Ever since I first started smoking behind the bike sheds at school, playing practical jokes on the teachers and 'customising' my school uniform.

Last night we were staying with lovely friends in the country. There were twelve of us for dinner. We got through twenty three bottles of wine.

Or, rather, they did. I drank water. Which didn't bother me. I'm pretty used to that now.

Shortly after midnight, as it started getting a bit raucous, I decided to slink unobtrusively off to bed.

Sadly, slinking unobtrusively is not my forte, and one of my friends yelled out "Goodnight, SM!" at which point they all turned round to stare at me. The first one to leave the party.

I woke up at 3am. The lack of snoring and alcohol fumes alerted me to the fact that Mr SM was not there. I walked down the corridor to the bathroom and could hear laughter and voices from the dining room two floors down.

And I felt sad. And square. And boring.

I don't want to be the good one, the reliable one, the predictable one. I still want to walk on the wild side.

This morning did, as you can imagine, make up for it. I felt great, while everyone around me was crumbling.

We all went out for a big Sunday roast (back at the Soho Farmhouse), and I didn't have to have the customary stand off with Mr SM about who was going to drink and who was going to drive back to London. Because I was going to drive. Obviously.

Good old, boring old, reliable old SM.

I had a lovely weekend. I really didn't want to drink. I had great fun with great friends and all our children. But I'm feeling sad.

I have to remember that, given the huge proportion of people who drink, I'm actually still the rebel. Still zigging while others zag. Still breaking the rules.

And if I want to shock people a little, make sure no-one sees me as boring or predictable, all I have to do is publish this blog. That would put the cat among the pigeons...

HAPPY SOBERVERSARY to fabulous Silver Birch! Awesome work, girlfriend :-)

Love SM x

32 comments:

  1. Its an odd feeling isnt it? I cant decide if I like being different or not. Hubby and I stuck out of a dull party at 11 q night and I am now paranoid all my friends are texting each other about how dull I am!! As you say I have had a great day today, up early, 15 mile cycle ride in the sun whilst most of my friends nursed hangovers.

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  2. I feel exactly as you do SM. But I am trying to think that really, these parties are only occasional - as opposed to the sad tedium of knocking back the wine at home on a daily basis. We can't have one without the other. And hey - we'll never be square!

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  3. I know exactly how you feel SM .. I'm just back from Sunday lunch at a friends house (6 hours eating & drinking) Four couples - 4 bottles of Moët / 4 red / 4 white / 4 Sauternes. I drank fizzy non alcoholic white. Which was okay to a certain point and then All of a sudden it became really boring... It's not us SM - it's them. What's the solution though? I think you have absolutely the right idea.. Publish your blog as a book - get a sober revolution started. I'm fed up with having to sit through these weekly booze-fests feeling like a leper fgs!!. We need to make alcohol free living the new health trend. I think your style of writing will speak to a lot of people SM. You will have to be very brave but it will be worth it. Everyone of your readers will be wholeheartedly behind you.

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  4. Oh this is just how I feel at the moment. I could always be relied on to be the last one holding up the bar with the hardcore, plotting the next session. I feel sad quite a bit at the moment, I am in the stage of avoiding socialising too so I worry that whilst I AM sober I am also becoming the most boring and most bored person I know. We need to remember that for all the awesome parties, there are infinitely more nights at home nursing the vino in a sad stupor. No party is worth that so I'm sticking to sobriety. Xx

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    1. My emotions are a rollercoaster! I feel really bereft at times. I think we must have to grieve the loss of not just the wine/whatever, but also the person that we think we used to be as a drinker, and the times we had - usually as a younger, fresher, thinner (!!) version of ourselves. But that fun, life and soul person must still be inside us - we were like that as school weren't we, before the booze? I think I was. I want to be a version of that young girl again. Not a sad old lush propping up the bar. I'm staying sober too. X

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    2. The idea of becoming the younger non dependent version is a really helpful one to me today, thank you WoS. I remember a time when I hardly every drank, drove everywhere and still had a great time! Forgot that somewhere along the way. Xx

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  5. Looks like we should have known each other in our drinking days - it would have been a hell of a party - last man standing (or woman) anyone!! But sad or not, the mornings are ample reward, no hangover, immodium (to be able to walk in the countryside), paracetamol, brufen cocktail and still feeling sick until lunchtime and way over the limit. No thanks. Be happy SM - your liver thanks you.

    Justonemore

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  6. Thank you :). I'm totally with you on this, and struggle too with these sort of situations which make me feel sad and boring and left out. If I could pick and choose when I drank, then these times would ones. But then I think about all the other stuff that went with my drinking, especially all the mental obsessing, and I know that I wouldn't want to give up what I have now as that would be the price I'd have to pay. This sadness in these situations is unfortunately part of the package and can't be separated from the positives.

    Yes publish your blog and vive la revolution! Xx

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  7. I too was away with friends for the weekend. There were 8 of us and I was the only one not drinking! I too was sad! I so wanted to be "part" of the "insider" part of the party! We had a big bonfire and that in itself lends itself to drinking! But, on the 3 hour drive home today, I said to my hubby that I would've been TRASHED last night if I was drinking. I would've been more bombed than anyone else! So, all in all a good thing! But..I did feel a bit boring!! Kind of left out! xo

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    1. This is so true. There was no one at the party I went to as drunk as I would have been!!

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  8. It is so nice to hear how you navigate these social situations with dignity and panache. It sounds like you had a lovely weekend. You deserve it!
    Keep writing, SM, you are talented. Your book, if you choose to write it, will be a bestseller. You are brave, honest and a living example of a stalwart survivor. We all strive to achieve what you have achieved. Go for it!

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  9. I know what you mean SM. I sometimes feel boring. But then I wake up without a hangover and it makes up for it. I guess there will always be those times when we feel a bit straight, the odd one out. But the benefits far outway the negatives so it's just a matter of getting used to it (for me anyway, you have this down pat!) You should write your book. I would love to read it!! A x

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  10. I totally see you as the cool rebel. The pioneer! You are inspiring so many others to walk on the gentler path.

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  11. Hi can totally relate to all the above....I think these times will always be tinged with nostalgia and a bit of regret.....I have yet to do these occasions sober..first one this coming weekend...I always led the way and was last man standing...on many occasions,,,and had actually got to the point of no hangover.....that's scary...but I do feel that we are the enlightened...and many people don't realise the slippery slope they are on,,,or how alive and free your life can feel without alcohol.....glad you had a great weekend...I am over two months sober now, and you and your followers have a lot to do with my success...looking for that field with bunnies, think I can smell the grass and flowers in the meadow.xx

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  12. I love the first line of your blog about having to readjust to your new image once sober, it's like getting to know yourself all over again. At my mums funeral over 2 years ago when I had my last drunken episode my sister in law got up the next morning at 6 am and went for a long walk in the hills, I was feeling terrible, I forced myself out of bed at 10 am, I was so envious of her, now that's not boring! I would have given anything to go for a long walk instead of feeling like shit. Well done for surviving your weekend. xx

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  13. Bravo SM and to all the other readers who understand this feeling to their core and make it through to another hangover free morning.

    It's in these exact moments I nearly throw it all away. And I did, a little while ago, at a wedding. I was having a great time, until I let myself go. Had glass after glass, didn't touch the gorgeous meal, got a big case of turrets, completely ignored my husband and argued with him on our one kid free weekend away in 5 years. The next morning I was hungover and full of shame and regret. Was it worth it. No way!

    We all know deep down we're really not that fantastic drunk, despite whatever illusions we may have at the time.

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  14. Packing my bag at the moment to fly to Vietnam. This will be my first sober work trip, I'm equally terrified of being a) thought of as total bore/square or b) being bored to death by drunk colleagues... I think I might need to sneak off to bed- now known as "pulling an sm"

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    1. Good luck Claire! Thinking of you! Hope you're better at slinking unobtrusively than I am ;-)

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  15. You can still join in at a party even if your sober. .. you are just more conscious of throwing yourself into it. I've just had my first weekend away with my mummy frinds (I've known one of them since I was 4 years old!). They were all drinking, and I was the sober one for the first time, but I stayed up as late as them, and we laughed till we snorted... you just throw yourself in, laugh, join in and have a great time. If anyone has an issue with you being sober at a party .. it's their issue.. not yours !! Now party on !!!

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    1. Quite right, Maisie! I have to get over my Cinderella complex. I get to around midnight and worry my coach is about to turn into a pumpkin....

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  16. SM you need to dig out your copy of Jason vale and remind yourself of a few things!!!! 1. The conversation at 3.a.m was a repeat of the one at 12 a.m just louder and more slurred.
    2. No one the next day could remember that conversation and no one particularly cared
    3. You have no idea how poorly some people felt at that lunch, I bet at least one was discretely sick and one or two are still feeling jaded today.
    4. You went to bed because drunk people get very tedious and self centred. This was the rebel thing to do. Alternatively, next time try streaking round the garden.
    Much love xxx

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    1. Perfect! Thank you for reminding me.

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    2. Right on all fronts, SWMum. Btw, do you fancy a stroll on Wimbledon Common one day? I'm often over there with the dog....

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    3. Are you setting up a streaking stroll with SWMum. See no.4 above. Because that's no way to keep you anonymity. Just sayin.

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  17. And as we all know it's hip to be square! It's great being able to sneak off when the conversations gets repetitive and everyone is talking drivel. Being hangover free is your reward and the next morning nobody remembers when you left. Enjoy your clear head!

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  18. Hi SM, someone said to me "you are just 10 years ahead of them" I bet in 10 years time half that table will be, or at least want sobriety. I had same dinner situ on Thursday and went to bed a bit sad, a bit homesick feely, then on Friday quite tired, but my god the relief outways the alternative. can you imagine how awful you'd have felt if you had indulged. Big hugs xx

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    1. Go us. Always ahead of the curve ;-)

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  19. ps so annoying that husbands can do the odd 3am and we can't! And great to have a space to rant yay we are all here together rant rant rant! xx

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  20. Early on, a poster mentioned 'grieving' and I don't really think that's over-stated. Certainly not for those of us who"ve gone thru the last many many years, glass in hand, and then are learning to navigate sans glass. But like the Rumi poem and some other similar advice, we just need to acknowledge the feeling, and where it comes from, invite it in...not fight or downplay the emotion. Hope I'm makng sense (and if not....well, I can't blame the booze!)

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