Saturday, 27 February 2016

The Party!

So, on Friday night I hosted The Party.

I haven't thrown a big evening drinks party for years. Hosting a party and getting totally plastered yourself are - I'd discovered - rather incompatible, and I couldn't really imagine a party without the latter.

But a big party was, I'd felt, in order.

I wanted to celebrate my birthday (last week), a year sober (this week), and surviving cancer. So I booked a private room above a swanky restaurant for drinks and canapes for seventy five of my friends.

The day leading up to the Big Event I had serious wobbles.

I thought what on earth am I doing throwing a party when I can't even have one glass of champagne to take the edge off? It's too soon! I'm crazy. Plus my dress is all wrong, but I can't afford to buy a new one. In fact, I can't afford the party at all. And no-one's going to have any fun. CANCEL THE WHOLE THING!

I had that squirming knot of anxiety in my stomach all day - the one that I would have drowned out with booze, back in the drinking days. Which is why I'd stopped having parties.

I would have had a glass or two of vino at lunch time (to quieten down the squirming snakes), then another two 'sharpeners' while getting ready. Then at least two while waiting for people to arrive. I'd have hit my 'perfect drunkenness' by about 7.30pm, so by 9pm it'd be seriously messy.

But on Friday I lived with the restless serpents.

I reminded myself that absolutely everything that is really worth doing and game changing in life is accompanied by that feeling.

If you are avoiding anxiety you are not properly living.

I felt the same before every job interview, every date, before getting married, before giving birth, before going off backpacking.

Where would I be now if I'd avoided doing all of those things (or got totally drunk beforehand)?

Anxiety is a sign that you're pushing boundaries, moving forward, grabbing life by the balls. IT IS GOOD.

Mr SM and I turned up ten minutes early, and sat on our own in a big, echoing room for twenty minutes while I sipped my virgin mojito and muttered, through gritted teeth, "nobody's coming!"

An hour later the place was heaving. People exclaiming over old friends, making new ones. I worked the room - chatting to everybody. Introducing people. Feeling the thrill of a party where I knew everyone!

Then, I stood up on a chair (couldn't have done that drunk!) and made a speech, thanking all my friends for their support and help through the cancer thing. I made everyone laugh. I felt the waves of goodwill.

Everyone said I 'looked amazing.' I know they kind of have to say that to the lady who's paying the bar bill and has just recovered from cancer, but I honestly think they meant it. Because - apart from anything else - I'm 21 pounds lighter than this time last year.

Then, at midnight, the bar closed. We had some friends from Scotland staying with us for the event. The four of us walked out onto the street where my car was parked, bang smack outside.

Five minutes into the journey Mr Scot suddenly sat up and yelled "Good God, SM, you're driving! I thought we were in a taxi!"

We got home and paid the babysitter, then the other three had a nightcap while I brewed up a green tea. We exchanged notes about the evening, and I went to bed so buzzed that I couldn't sleep until 2am.

Yesterday I was exhausted, but in a good way - not that awful, toxic, hungover tiredness, but a bone deep, honest exhaustion.

And I honestly can't remember the last time I enjoyed a party more. Yet I'd been totally sober for the whole five hours.

Who knew?

Love SM x


  1. I'm so glad you had an amazing night (although I knew you would) It sounds fabULous

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. It sounds like a fabulous night enjoyed by one and all. I am curious to know did anyone notice you were not drinking alcohol or did you make any reference to it? Glad it was a resounding success.

    1. I told anyone who asked that I wasn't drinking, but otherwise didn't mention it. I didn't want anyone to feel uncomfortable drinking themselves (which many people do if they think you're not 'joining in')

  4. Sounds wonderful SM. So happy for you. Day 56 for me - and I've never felt better. Thank you thank you. SFM xxx

  5. Wow that's the way to do it! I actually prefer parties sober now, well after the first hour anyway. I always used to worry about getting drunk. We had a houseful this weekend for my son's birthday and my not drinking is still a big topic of discussion. However it's lent so lots of others were off it too. Here's to a very happy year ahead xxx

  6. Sounds amazing! Well done. I much prefer partying sober these days and most people don't notice.

  7. Well done SM!! You're truly amazing. I will aspire to be just like you! I love reading about your life adventures- sober. You have opened my eyes and I am so grateful for this connection. (Day 12! Whoot whoot!) So glad you enjoyed your birthday bash, you deserve it!! <3

  8. Yaaay, SM!! Just having 75 friends worthy of your bar tab is a good life accomplishment! You hit the nail on the head (US phrase?) re anxiety. Glad you fought it back and had a wonderful time. Now, onward!

  9. Awesome SM! Here's to many fabulous, novel writing, healthy, happy years ahead xxx

  10. Very happy for you - and I think you've found the perfect last entry in your should be published book about your first year sobriety journey. Congrats again. E

  11. Congratulations! Sounds like a great success in so many ways. I've nearly hit six weeks and love reading your encouraging posts. Trying to blog myself if anyone wants to check me out :)

  12. Congratulations on your party. It will be an enormous day when I too can toast to the same success. I could easily avoid a mid-week drink and even a weekend one if I hibernate. But a party without a drink... Or a mummy playdate when the wine is plentiful....What! Totes to you. (Beginner sober mummy day 3).

  13. Congrats SM! And Happy Birthdayx

  14. That's a brilliant milestone for you - happy birthday and here's to another great year

  15. I'm soooo happy for you SM!! That anxiety feeling is a killer though. I'm feeling it a great deal at the moment as very unhappy in current job, had two good interviews so far for this job I really want. Would love to neck a bottle of wine, anything in fact to make this feeling go. But know I can't, won't and just have to ride it out and live with it. Wishing you a fabulous year ahead x.