Tuesday, 6 January 2015

My sober friends

I'm struggling a little socially at the moment. It's struck me in the last week or so, after the family-filled Christmas holiday. 

I have plenty of friends and acquaintances just a short walk away. Unfortunately, most of them will be hammered by now. And, here, in these brackets () I'm writing the number of sober friends I have. 

That's not great. It's an exaggeration too, I think. I'm not sure actually... My cousin lives nearby and she barely drinks. 

I'm struggling for soberists though. 

That's partly why "leaving the house" was one of my New Year's resolutions. It may seem pathetically unambitious, but quite long periods of my life have been marked by almost complete isolation. 

At the moment, most days I see Mag, and no-one else. Nothing against Mag, she's wonderful and I love her. But perhaps I (perhaps we) need more, and she has her own tendency towards hiding away too. 

That's why taking Antabuse under supervision has been useful. I wouldn't exactly call the medical staff who breathalyse me and watch me take my pills close friends, but they're good people, chatty, and always ready to offer help or advice if I ask for it. 

I've also got my one day a week (or so) working for a local magazine publisher. That can be a bit of a strain, but I always return feeling brighter, and I think it's just from being around people. Again, not in some hugely rewarding, deeply-involved way, but it's good to talk, no matter how inconsequentially. 

I did go out on Sunday, with Mag, and Fitz, who is probably my closest friend here in Thin City. Actually, he's my closest friend full stop. He's originally a drinking pal from The Spread. 

I don't like diagnosing other people (though I do tend to do it, I'll be honest). Fitz isn't - I think - a problem drinker, and that makes things easier. He does smoke far too much dope, admitting that he can't really get by without it any more, but that's much less of an issue for me so I'm much more relaxed about saying no to it. 

In the recent past, even seeing people from The Spread has triggered cravings. It still does, and I think it probably will for a while. That's OK though, they seem to be diminishing with time, and my decision to no longer go back into the pub, although it has left me with less social contact is, I think, vindicated. 

There are people in The Spread I would love to see. There are a couple I'd love to drag onto my path, to "save" them. It's not to be though. And the truisms of pub friendships - the repeated stories, the unfunny jokes, the idiocy and occasional conflict - hold true. 

We had a great time on Sunday. I was worried about it, and breaking a door handle that left us trapped in the house wasn't an auspicious start to the outing. It went well though. I feared that returning home would leave me feeling bereft, when all previous such outings have ended in the pub. I think it's helpful that we went for a Chinese meal, easily accompanied by tea rather than beer, I don't think we were even shown a drinks menu containing alcohol and everyone, not just me, abstained. 

Finding some friends is on the cards though. They don't have to be abstainers, but they sadly can't be the people I've spent all that time with, almost all of it drunk. 

I'm not sure where to go with this, but time will tell.