Saturday, 14 March 2015

Will I lose all my friends?

Day 13 and it's a Saturday. In the old days I would wake up feeling ropey and trying desperately to go back to sleep while the dog and the children all take turns piling in under the duvet, excited about a new day - their enthusiasm equally matched by my despair. I would then try and get through the morning of chores, ferrying children to activities and so on, counting the hours and minutes until 12pm when I could reasonably open a bottle of wine 'to go with lunch'.

Today my eyes snapped open at 6.30am and I had that fabulous slow realisation that 'something is different. What is it? Oh yes, I'm not drinking. Yay - no hangover. I feel fabulous!' I greet the onslaught of dog and children with open arms and equally matched enthusiasm. I have a whole, glorious day ahead of me to fill. I feel like a child.

I'm doing a lot of reading right now, as well as writing, and I came across a beautifully written and really funny piece by John Cheese on entitled 'Seven things you don't know about addiction until you quit.' I was nodding along happily until I got to #6: You Will Lose Most of Your Friends. Wait John Cheese - STOP RIGHT THERE. I want to get off. I have spent thirty years building up my circle of fabulous friends and if this journey means losing most of them I'm going straight back to the Chablis. Is this really true?

John's argument is that most of your friends are bound to be 'drinking buddies' and that - without the alcohol - either they won't want to hang out with you or you won't want to hang out with them. Or both. Now I like to think that I chose my friends for far more profound reasons than that they drank. I thought I chose them (and, I hope, they me) for their kindness, wit, intelligence - not their fondness of a sauvignon blanc. However, it is possible that the friends I've seen more than others (and therefore grew closer to) were the ones happy to spend hours over a few bottles setting the world to rights.

I haven't told any of my friends yet that I'm intending not to drink again, ever. Or my family. Instead I've said that I'm 'giving up for Lent, and to give the liver a break.' This is seen as entirely appropriate and laudable (if a little boring) in my circles. I'm hoping that by the time I 'come out' they will have seen that I'm actually a better person when sober, and quite happy for them to carry on imbibing around me so I won't be dropped like a hot potato.

But a niggling voice tells me that John may be right - at least to an extent. I bumped into a Mum friend outside the school yesterday and she said "Why we go out for a bottle of champagne next week since I missed your birthday party?" (The birthday party was the last time I drank alcohol). I said "Great, but I'm not drinking - giving up for Lent. Give the liver a break, you know how it is?!" She looked crestfallen and said "When's Lent finish? Give me a call then!" I shouted after her "I can go out anyway!" But she'd gone.

Is it true that in our messed up society if you're not getting messed up on a regular basis you're deemed boring? Perhaps in going alcohol free we make others question their own habits and feel uncomfortable. Will I have any friends left? Please advise!


  1. Thank you so much for this fab blog and your blog is ticking so many of my boxes too ( another "secret" drinking mummy) I am a week behind you on sobriety and feeling so much fresher in mind and body. True friends will still be there ( I trust !!) think of me tonight attending my first party not drinking on what feels like forever .... Just thinking i might say I'm on anti biotics to stop the questions !!

    1. Hi Kags, and thanks for posting! How did last night go? I so hope you are waking up with a clear head and a major sense of achievement x

  2. Dear SoberMummy,
    To be honest, yes and no.
    I had several drinking buddies, but they now meet me for coffee.
    They all know I am not drinking, and so when I felt stronger in my sobriety I could also meet them at the bar and have my alcohol free drinks.
    Any real friend will support you in any way they can.
    If all you have in common with a person is drinking, then you might lose them.
    However, you will gain self-respect and being present for your children.
    That is the best gift ever!

    1. Sound advice. Thanks ,Wendy! And thanks sober mummy for your blog. Just wading through it as I don't want to miss a thing!

  3. This exact fear is one of the reasons I keep going back to alcohol. This time around I have to accept that not everyone will support my decision to be sober.

  4. Welcome Teddy, and hope you make it this time! Good luck! Maybe we can make some new friends, hey? x

  5. Dear sober mummy yes I did it survived a cocktail party drinking raspberry crush fizz and feel fantastic !!! Here's to a sober Sunday it's great to be part of this new enlightened gang

  6. It really depends on how your friendship with a certain person is. For example, if you guys only go out to drinks and never meet up for other stuff, then there is a high possibility of losing said friend when you stop drinking. But I’m sure you have a lot of friends that will support you in this endeavor. Besides, it’s not like you can’t go out with them anymore; you just opt to not drink when you do. I hope this helps! Good luck!

    Johnnie Smith @ Ranch Creek Recovery

    1. Hi Johnnie, and thanks for posting - it's great to hear from an expert x