I have another party under my belt, this time an all day, barbequey affair involving pretty constant consumption of French champagne, imported beers and nice New Zealand wines by the other guests. I drank tonic waters, raspberry and sodas, mineral waters and a cup of coffee when I felt my energy waning as the evening set in. Except for getting sick of fizzy drinks, it really wasn’t too bad. Because the people there weren’t on a mission to get slaughtered, there was plenty of interesting conversation and some really interesting people delivering it (a diamond merchant, a family court barrister, and a high powered television exec to name a few). They were charismatic people and I learnt some cool stuff off them. The really cool thing though is that I can remember what they told me today. Awesome. The food too was exceptionally good (I am so all about food right now. Oink!). It was a quality do. The quality of the alcohol, I must admit, did give me the odd pang. I freakin love good French champagne, and seeing it burbling frothily from bottle to flute did make me want to pour some down my throat. I even made the mistake of taking a whiff of my sister’s glass. Don’t do this. The nose is a powerful persuader of the tongue and taste buds. If you’re trying to abstain, getting your schnoz involved just makes things more difficult. So I stuck to my non-alcs, and earned the praise and amazement of everyone around me. While it’s quite nice to have your purity and strength of resolve acknowledged and applauded (the people there really were very supportive), it also marks you out again as an outsider; a kind of circus freak that people marvel at. It’s hard to relax and get amongst it when you and everyone else are constantly monitoring how you’re going. But again, it’s all okay. These are early days and I’m just beginning to find my alcohol-free social feet. Give me a few months and with any luck I’ll be pirouetting from person to person, so light and bubbly that no-one will detect I haven’t been quaffing buckets of the stuff. Here’s hoping anyway. For now I begin with baby steps.