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.