I had been building up to this night for a while. I was incredibly nervous for a few reasons.

  1. It was my first night out sober.
  2. I was going out with a group of women, most of whom I had never met in person (only online, in our life transformers group).
  3. I was wearing a new, very tight dress (I’ve never really done tight fitting clothes before, but as I’d lost a load of weight I thought ‘Why Not’?).

I’d done my research this time, I’d been online to check the drinks menu and was thrilled to see they had a variety of mocktails and my firm favourite Heineken 0.0. I drove my friend and I in, I could feel myself getting very nervous, but I was really excited as well. Tonight was going to be a massive step for me and I was convinced it would go really well.

We arrived to a group full of unfamiliar faces, I quickly scanned the room to try and match one of the women to the Facebook profile pictures I had been identifying with these women for the last seven months. I finally recognised one and made a beeline for her. I chatted with a few people, it was really was lovely to meet people in the flesh after months of communicating through our keyboards. Once everyone had arrived, we found some seats.

My heart sank as I sat down, the tables were filled with bottles of Prosecco. And I’m not talking normal Prosecco, FREE Prosecco! FFS! In my visualisation of the night I had not imagined being surrounded by prosecco, or my empty champagne glass holding a dry raspberry screaming at me to be swimming in the good stuff. Thankfully, in the goody bags provided, there was a bottle of water so my raspberry got to swim like the rest of them, just in less turbulent waters!

I was relieved to see a waitress walking over (we couldn’t order at the bar due to social distancing). I ordered 2 bottles of AF Heineken, so that I wouldn’t have to bother her again. After about twenty minutes she returned. I was so pleased to have something in my hand that felt ‘grown up’. I don’t think many people were fooled by the placid raspberry sat in my water filled champagne glass (in hindsight I don’t think anyone noticed or cared). I went to take a swig of my AF Heineken, happened to catch a glimpse of the bottle as it I lifted it to my mouth and realised I was holding a bottle of real Heineken! I was so relieved I didn’t drink it, but shaken at the same time that I’d come so close.  I managed to get a different waitresses attention, explained the mistake with the order and off she went to finally get me a drink so I could remove the neon sign I felt was flashing above my head reading ‘alcoholic’.   

What also didn’t help my evening was the group of ladies sat next to me. They were ‘on it’. Shots, cocktails, too loud laughter, you know the ones. I certainly do, because six months ago I would have been sat with them (more than likely leading the charge). I wasn’t annoyed with them, I was jealous. I know how great those moments feel when you’re having your first few drinks and loosening up. Instead I was waiting for my bloody AF Heineken so I could drink something that didn’t taste like weak squash.

I never saw that waitress again. So after 30 minutes I managed to flag yet another waitress down and re-order. Alas she never materialised with my elusive AF Heinekens either. After 2.5 hours of no drinks (aside from my weak raspberry water) I decided it was time to call it a night and not bother going to the next venue. I felt mentally drained and knew it was the right thing for me. As I walked into my house, I burst out crying explaining to Chris the ridiculous chain of events that had led to my crap evening.

But as I got ready for bed, kissed my sleeping children goodnight, I was proud that I was sober. The next morning, when I woke at 7am without a headache and saw people’s photos posted at 1am in the morning, I was grateful I was sober. When I went swimming at 10am with my kids, I was thankful I was sober. And as I reflected on the evening I realised there was not one moment where I thought ‘Stuff it, I’ll just have a drink’. It was never an option, and for that I am really proud of myself. It’s starting to feel like I am getting somewhere!