I spent last Saturday night with a bunch of youngsters in their 20s and early 30s.
We had a truly fabulous supper, we shared stories about our lives, we chatted about great movies and Netflix series swapping recommendations, we showed our latest tattoos (no I don’t have any!), we sang ABBA and Eagles songs around the piano, we giggled at photos of dogs that looked like celebrities and we often laughed until we cried.
A typical Saturday night I hear you say.
Well no – not exactly. Not for me anyway. There was no alcohol required.
Having spent my 20s and 30s working in the advertising industry, alcohol was a prerequisite. We drank at lunchtime, sometimes through the afternoon and pretty much always after work either in various pubs or at industry bashes. We drank a lot of alcohol. Not something I’m proud of, just a fact.
Thus still today I know I associate social occasions and alcohol. I wouldn’t call myself a big drinker, far from it, but I still use alcohol to chill out, to build my confidence pre a social occasion and I still tend to think I have the best times when I’ve had a few drinks at the least.
Yet these youngsters had a fabulous time and not a drop passed their lips. You see they were all recovering alcoholics.
Young, good-looking, smart, articulate, outgoing young people. A far cry from the stereotypical image of alcoholics or recovering alcoholics many of us might hold.
These courageous, resilient, disciplined, determined, caring, hard-working young people have all hit rock bottom and have hauled themselves back up again. Yes, they have had the support of some amazing professionals and, in some cases, huge support from their loving, if often baffled, families and friends. However, they have mainly done it through their own strength of character and strength of will.
I find it incredibly humbling to be amongst them and very inspiring too. Life isn’t easy for them, far from it, and they have to remain totally focussed on their recovery programme which they know is for life. Yet they can teach us oldies many a lesson.
Not least that to have a good time there is no alcohol required.