It's been exactly two months since I had a drink (not that I'm counting or anything.... 61 days, 10 hours and 52 minutes) and in that time, i feel like I have learnt a LOT. I haven't gone 'sober' because I wanted to but rather because I'm trying to treat some stomach issues in the shape, primarily for the no drinking thing, of a 'leaky gut'. (an actual illness not a gross observation).
Now for anyone that knows me, or indeed for anyone that reads the blog or follows me on social media, you will know already that I LOVE a drink and so you won't be surprised to hear that this has been far from easy for me, not least of all because Christmas is the hardest time ever not to drink and is the season to get totally hammered. But since I haven't got a choice in the matter, I have simply had to get on with it and in the last week have been to not one but TWO parties which i have seen through, pretty much to the end (calling it a night at 4.30am on Saturday night).
Now for anyone reading this who regularly wears the Sensible Sally hat of designated driver, gotta be up early for work, this whole 'no drinking' thing may not seem like a very big deal to you, but for me, always the last one standing and famed for my strong bond with jaegerbombs and my ability to put them away like nobody's business, this has been a proper learning curve.
Initially I found it too hard to go out if I am honest not least of all because as part of the 'treatment' and illness itself, I was often too tired anyway. But more recently, the real reason that I have chosen the sofa has been that I simply can't face to be out will all the people that I love, doing something that I love to do so very very much. I'm the Queen of FOMO and have written in the past about the woes of being sober at a party and how much that makes me hate everything.
But last night it was my friend's birthday and after three pints of water (wheyyyyy) at the pub, there was a plan in motion to go out to a club that I'm not proud to admit, we all know rather well but a club that I have never been to when I haven't been totally shitfaced before. I wasn't planning on going but after a bit of a guilt-trip from the birthday boy and the realisation that I couldn't spend the whole Christmas period in bed at 12 I conceded and was on my way.
And OH. What an experience. So here's what it's like to go to a nightclub that you regular, totally friggin sober.
1) I was surprised to notice for the first time the colour of the building. It's green. Whilst I knew that I knew that already (my brother lives on that street) it never occurred to me to notice that it's still green at night time as well.
2) The glasses are filthy. Not a problem when you're necking a shot of something but kind of utterly revolting when you're sipping on a glass of warm water.
3) It's fucking freezing in the smoking area. This is normally where most of my night is spent and in my head it is heated and sweaty and practically Amazonian. In reality it's outside so it's cold and damp.
4) Young drunk girls are like pinballs and we are the machines. I was crashed into last night no fewer than 12 times.... by the same girl, who I didn't know.
5) Dancing is SUCH a weird thing to do. I tried it guys, I really did and I lasted at least half a song. Normally I'm there all night and need to be dragged away from it kicking and screaming but last night, all I could do was stand and stare at what is the most ridiculous thing that drunk people love to do, so badly.
6) The loos are revolting. Not the actual things themselves, but more what has happened to them after a wave of people who can't handle their booze have been in.
7) What shit people talk and how wonderful it is. I had conversations and overheard things last night that made me both smile to myself and laugh until my sides hurt.
8) How rude people are to the coat checkers, bouncers and loo attendants. Throwing, shouting, ignoring, you name it I saw it and it pissed me right off.
9) What it's like to leave before you are kicked out. That was literally the first time that has ever happened to me before and so not only did I have to go out via the front stairs (new territory), my favourite bouncer looked at me with genuine concern when he saw me exiting not long after 12.30.
10) How much FUN it can be. No, it wasn't my wildest night EVER, but I'm pleased as punch that I went. I have realised that being sober should not and will not stop me from being fun, seeing my friends and doing nights like these.
So there's a thought for you, next time you run out of money and claim that you can't go out, remember that I spent a grand total of £11.30 last night. £3 on sweet potato chips and £8.30 on a taxi, both luxuries that I really could have gone without anyway.