A year ago, when I was exactly two months sober, I wrote this post - Tartan and Tiaras - about a huge Scottish society ball that Mr and SM and I went to.
Seven hundred dancers, from the age of eighteen to eighty, dressed in clan tartan and doing traditional Scottish reels.
Well, last night we went again.
This event has remained pretty much unchanged for over one hundred and fifty years. It's all floor length dresses, dance cards, bagpipes, diamonds and sporrans.
The only thing that changes is the other guests get younger and younger.
When I first went, more then twenty years ago, I was part of the fast, young set. Now, I find myself a grande dame (or old bag, depending on which way you look at it). How did that happen?
I always get a bit nervous leading up to the ball.
Yesterday I was in a panic about several things. Would I manage to get the children fed, bathed, and ready for bed, whilst also getting dolled up myself, before the babysitter arrived at 7pm? Would I remember all the steps? Could I make it through to 3am without keeling over?
Then it struck me. One thing that hadn't bothered me at all, was the idea of doing it all sober. In fact, just the thought of doing all of that while drunk gave me the heebie jeebies. How on earth did I manage it?
The thing about these annual events, these fixed points of stability and consistency in a fast changing world, is that they give you an unnerving perspective on time.
For years the ball gave me a sense of time slipping through my fingers. To paraphrase John Lennon, another year over, and what have we done?
I didn't feel like that last night. I looked back on the year that had passed since I last twirled my way through the Reel of the Fifty First Highland Division and felt....proud.
I'd lost the drink, found myself, and dealt with cancer. It wasn't the best of years, but at least I'd grabbed it by the sweaty bollocks, not just let it pass me by, unnoticed.
At about 2am, I looked around our group of fifty friends, and realised, yet again, that hardly anyone was drunk. And the ones that were stood out like sore thumbs.
I'd assumed for years that most people drank the way I did. I thought that if, by the end of an evening, I was a little unsteady, repetitive and slurry no-one would pay much attention, because they would be in the same state.
Now I cringe at the thought that none of it would have gone unnoticed.
So, this morning I've woken up exhausted after only four hours sleep, and aching all over.
In a way it reminds me of waking up with a hangover. You do that sort of inventory of how you feel, and use it to piece together the night before.
But, rather than my aches and pains reminding me of embarrassments and misdemeanours, they bring back memories of a magical night, celebrating another year passed with great friends, music and dance.
There are much better ways to get high than drinking.
Love SM x
(To follow my story from Day One, click here)