Back to pubs

I really had fun last night. Since I gave up booze I have tried  to avoid pubs, fearing that the temptation to break my abstinence would be too great. I used to enjoy pubs as social epicentres,  but on the whole steering clear  of them was the best way  to stay sober. Recently, though, I’ve found myself in a pub two or three times: with Charlotte, when I was  up in  Edinburgh, and again last  night  for Terry’s birthday. Each time, the urge to throw caution to the wind and  ask for  a bitter  has grown less and less, and last night I was quite content with a coke.

It was a  really nice evening.  At about midday I had had a text from Debbie inviting me to Terry’s birthday bash in the White Swan, both of whom we know from the park. I replied that I would be happy to go. I  got there about seven, Lyn arriving shortly after, just as a band was setting up.  It was pretty tricky to navigate my powerchair through the crowded room, but at the back  of the pub I found my friends. En Route I bumped into Steven, my fellow film festival  organiser, and got chatting about Peter Jackson’s   new Dambusters remake. The  rest of the evening was  spent sitting and laughing, sipping my coke listening to the band. Terry, who was turning eighty, was clearly having a great time. As the evening wore on, things grew mellower and mellower, friendlier and  friendlier, and I couldn’t  help feeling very lucky indeed to know so many wonderful, kind-hearted people: Debbie,  Terry, Lyn  and everyone. Rolling home with Lyn, both of us stone-cold sober, I realised I had made the happy discovery that  I could go into pubs and have the same great time I always did without getting stupid. A good  social night out with friends  does not mean getting drunk; if anything it was even better, because I  could get myself home without breaking anything.. Now I want to keep it up.

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