It's my birthday next week (Wednesday).
I've never had a sober birthday before. At least, not since I was about sixteen.
Birthdays were an excuse to indulge myself as much as possible. In recent years it would take me three or four days of self loathing to recover from them.
Now I realise that birthdays are not actually all about me.
The smalls are super excited. When you are seven, a birthday is the most exciting thing in the universe.
Since my birthday falls on a school day, they have insisted on throwing a pre-celebration today. I have pretended not to notice the whisperings, the secret shopping trips, the wrapping and the hiding. I am practicing my 'that's the thing I most wanted in the entire world' face - like Gwyneth Paltrow before the Oscars.
For years I didn't publically celebrate my birthday, I just got quietly trashed and maudlin with Mr SM.
But last year I decided to throw a party. I invited about 25 adults and 25 children. I prepared Sunday lunch for them all, and booked a man to turn up with live animals - snakes, spiders, MEERKATS, a chinchilla, an OWL - to entertain the kids. I bought cases and cases of wine to entertain the adults.
It cost a fortune. And I did not enjoy it.
Well, I enjoyed the beginning. The first few glasses of wine. And the end - when I could get really stuck in, and congratulate myself on having made it.
But the middle was pretty awful. Catering for fifty people when half drunk is super hard. And being a good hostess is impossible after too many vinos. I tried introducing people initially, but I'd keep forgetting names (!), and quite quickly gave up.
I couldn't relax and enjoy myself. I charged around the house, glass in hand, constantly convinced that I ought to be somewhere other than where I was.
The next day I felt like death. Plus I was paranoid that no-one had enjoyed themselves. I knew I'd not be able to shift the black mood for days. And that's the day (March 2nd 2015) I quit. Forever.
(See Secret Drinker Hits the High Bottom)
So, this year I'm throwing another party. On Friday. My first ever sober party. After my recent dice with death, I want to be able to say thank you to all my friends for being there, and to celebrate life in general.
I'm not hosting at home (too much hard work!). Instead, I've booked a private room in a swanky restaurant. I'm spending all the money I saved by not drinking alcohol on alcoholic drinks and canapes for 75 people. How ironic.
I'm a bit nervous about it, but the nervousness is swamped by building excitement.
Seventy five of my best friends, all in the same room, and I'll be sober enough to talk to them all! I'll be able to introduce people, make witty conversation.
Perhaps I'll even do a speech. Without slurring, forgetting what I was saying mid sentence and falling off the chair.
And I'll remember every single minute of it, and wake up the next day feeling....great (if broke).
Love to you all,