You read a lot about seemingly staunch, fully ‘converted’, solidly-grounded non-drinkers with three, four, five years of sobriety under their belts that suddenly go POP and fall off the wagon. Sometimes this can be a spectacular Gascoigne-esque fall, where the booze-victim finds themselves staggering around an off licence in a dressing gown with their tackle hanging out, and other times this can just mean a couple of wines or beers at home, before a fitful sleep and a fleeting return to the world of abstinence with the counter zero’d (or not – depending whether you view relapse as an expected part of recovery).
There was a point, around 20 years ago, when I’d just turned 18 and I did the whole ‘rite of passage’ thing where you go out with your parents for your first ‘legal’ drink in a pub. Obviously it was a long time ago, and I’ve spent a lot of time in the 20 years since pickling my brain with all sorts of interesting beverages, but from what I can remember it was a local pub (oop narth) with my mum and my stepdad, and after a few pints and some scran we ended up back at home. At this point I’d usually disappear out of the door to meet my current lady-friend, or up to my bedroom to blast some loud sweary music, but my lovely mum – ever pleasant and encouraging, even when faced with a pretentious little pube of a son – invited me to join them downstairs for a post-pub drink and a bit of Saturday night telly.