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Can you socialise when you are alcohol free?

Updated: Jan 13

Party without alcohol

I was at a friends' house a couple of nights ago. A small group of us decided to get together after a particularly long week for a natter and to de-stress after the weeks work. Many of them are teachers, and I was working on a big project all week.

Our old partying nights came up in conversation, and, laughing uncontrollably, my best friend was asking if I remember when I was so drunk I fell down a step in my six inch heels and disappeared from sight, before promptly righting myself and walking directly on as if nothing had happened, laughing all the way to the bar. I laughed and agreed that I remembered, what fun it had been. Several stories later, with me nodding and agreeing and laughing alongside her. Oh, the memories! The times we had when we were younger and less responsible!

Except, I didn't remember. It was like she was talking about someone else.

Later that night, as I nursed my alcohol free beer, I wondered at this, and tried really hard to remember any of our "fun" drunken nights out. Sure, there were glimpses here and there, but the real memories, the things my friends adored about me, were completely and utterly missing. So, I ask myself, what was the point?

My thoughts went back to a time late last year, when a beloved friend and old boss invited myself and lots of other colleagues and friends to a barbecue in his back garden to celebrate Christmas and New Year. I had not seen him for months, as he had left the business, and I was excited to see him. As a former boss, we had haunted many a social team outing at bars and clubs, and I would always be one of the last to leave, honking with laughter at the funny things the team got up to, and loving the chance to let off some steam after big projects.

I had stopped drinking alcohol many months ago, and had long decided it did nothing good for me, so I dutifully packed several bottles of my favourite alcohol free beer, a large bottle of Prosecco to donate to the party, and a bottle opener. [Tip: Always remember the bottle opener!]. Next, I grabbed my car keys, and instead of spending £30 each way for a taxi, I drove to the party.

When I walked through into the garden and saw him I gave him the biggest hug ever. I had missed him! He was own form as always, cracking brilliant jokes and making everyone laugh, and the party had already really gotten started. I was briefly quizzed on my choice of beverage when I turned down a large glass of my usual Hendricks, but I simply replied I was on a health kick, and it was quickly forgotten about as he introduced me to a few new people.

It was an incredible night! I still have strong memories of my sides hurting because I laughed so much - I absolutely adore the people there and their wickedly good humour. It was the perfect night, despite the December drizzle, and we were all wrapped up in hats and scarves and downing our drinks whilst deep in chatter and genuine laughter. Later that night his wife unveiled a table of jacket potatoes and huge bowls of chilli con carne, with little sweet treats for us to enjoy afterwards. As always, the party did not fail to impress. The lighting was stunning, huge heaters surrounded us to keep the elements at bay, and the music swam from speakers all around us. What a night! The night went so fast, and before I even knew it people were hugging each other and saying their goodbyes.

I gave my friend and his lovely wife a huge hug of thanks, and walked back to my car giggling, feeling happy and content and so pleased to have seen my friends again. I drove home slowly, enjoying the night lights and empty roads, and let myself into my house, and after brushing my teeth and taking all my make up off, went to bed and fell almost instantly, happily, into a satisfying sleep.

The following morning I awoke, breakfasted with a clear head, and excitedly opened up Facebook to respond to all the previous nights posts. The pictures were fabulous, it really had been a great night. I texted everyone back and agreed what a great night it had been.

No shame, no guilt. not cringing at what I had done the previous night. No headache or hangover, no sickness, no losing a whole day in bed. No falling over in six inch heels. No snogging the wrong person. No blackouts. No forgetting how I had gotten home. No money spent on taxis, or bar bills. No smeared makeup on my face or crap feeling parched lips and mouth. No bleary eyes.

My friends did not even register I was not drinking. They were all drinking and I felt no need to join them whatsoever. They all laughed at my funny jokes, and occasionally still mention the night with fond memories even now.

That was my first party without alcohol for decades. And it was my favourite party of all.

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Love this - I am also loving being alcohol free. Keep it up!

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