Last night we went to my husband’s Christmas party.
I prepped him and myself for my first event as a card carrying sober person. (Well, I guess I could make myself a card. Maybe I should. And I would make one for you too. Just let me know if you need one.) I told him it might be hard for me, and we might have to leave really early. I made it a point to bring the kiddos as a “Mommy-can’t-party-down-look-here’s-the-kids” shield. Thoughts of sparkly soda water danced in my head. I promised myself I would eat food. Some of everything. More than one dessert if I wanted to.
(sidenote: I never really noticed this before but at other parties over the years I never ate the food. I was too busy hopping back in line for another drink. Which could be why I wound up so drunk.)
The bar was beautiful. The house was beautiful. The kitchen.Was.Incredible. But the bar was too. Scotches glowing amber in the festive lights, giant bottle of Grey Goose vodka, thousands ( I am exaggerating a little here) of beers on ice, champagne chilling and looking so fine in the bucket and in everyone’s hands.
(another sidenote: Champagne/sparkling was my favorite. Towards the end of my drinking era I latched on to a particular brand of Prosecco and I could finish the bottle by the kids’ bedtime.)
We got there around 6 o’clock, and a few people were already sort of hammered. There were loads of people, the house was huge, and I knew about three people. (One being the woman my husband introduced me to on the way up to the house.) I’m not the greatest at small talk, and I can be a little shy. Until I’ve had a few glasses of wine. Then it’s easier. Then after five or six you’ve latched on to your new very best friend, or they’ve latched on to you. Without that I’m not quite certain who to talk to or how to be. I’m not so sure a drink-y social event full of strangers was the best idea on my tenth day of sobriety.
Y’all, I did it.
I drank a lot (A LOT) of Pellegrino. I ate pimento cheese and biscuits, guacamole, tasty chicken wings. The kiddos and I tried all the desserts, and then a maple bacon donut when they arrived. My husband sort of fussed around me like a mother hen while trying to be social. I stayed downstairs in the playroom with all the kids. I made awkward conversation with a few mothers who came down to check on their children. I hooted and hollered at a few rousing games of table top Foosball. I scared a little girl into laughter several times who was playing with what looked like a Whitesnake band member wearing a cape with an action Incredible Hulk. I remember all of it. Every bit. And by 7:15 I had had enough. I don’t think I’ve ever thought that at a party before.
I told my husband we had to go. He went up to pass out goodbyes while we found our coats. I knew he didn’t want to leave, but he did without so much as a dirty look. (damn sober wife.) The children talked in excited voices about how much fun they had. I stumbled around in my brain trying to wrap my head around the fact that I just went to a party with delicious free booze and I didn’t have any.
But, that booze wasn’t free. The cost for me is huge. It would have cost me a good night’s sleep. It would have robbed me of sitting here, right now, writing for me and for you. It would have put me right back to day one, to starting all the fuck over again. It would have taken this day, and more days, and then my whole life away from me. So I will remain booze free.