Well, I did it! Today was my last day at work, the office Christmas lunch for 65 people (organized by me) and an after-lunch pub session followed by a meal out. Three different places that sell alcohol and loads of people wanting to buy me a farewell drink. Yesterday I was really stressing about it - so much to do, hardly any time to do it in, potential for tears as I said goodbye to some of the friends I've made, potential for squirming embarrassment if the Managing Director did the decent/normal/human thing of thanking me and giving me a leaving card - and I was muttering to myself all last evening, 'I'll want a drink, I know I'll want a bloody drink.'
But I didn't want a drink after all, when the time came. The Managing Director stood up to make a speech before our lunch arrived and said, 'Christmas again ... blah blah ... this time last year ... blah blah ... aren't we great, haven't we done well ... blah blah ... Linda's leaving ... blah blah ... this time next year ... new contract ... blah blah...'
He sat down and started tucking in to his food and then said, 'Oh, I forgot,' and ambled over to me and handed me a gift bag without a single word, and then went back to his seat. I'm so glad I was sober, because I can remember clearly that that moment just summed up why I was leaving - the totally appalling way the staff are treated as second-class citizens - and reassured me that I have made the right decision to leave.
That aside, a really good time was had by all, and almost everyone came over at some point to wish me luck and thank me for all I'd done. I have a card with signatures and good wishes from everyone, and I have the most gorgeous necklace and bracelet I've ever seen. They're hand-made in silver with amethyst and blue lace agate and each piece by this designer is unique. They must have cost a fortune and I was really touched to realise how much people thought of me, even if the managing director didn't have the grace or the manners to say goodbye or do a proper presentation.
A whole bunch of us went to the pub and I stayed sober there, too. After a few hours we went into town to a new Greek restaurant and they all drank red wine, and I drank water. At 10 I left them in town - they were off to another bar but I was beginning to feel tired and it was time for me to come home.
I stayed sober at my own leaving do! My friends and colleagues won't remember me as someone who got drunk and bad-mouthed the company and the boss, and got too loud and fell over. They will remember me as I want to be remembered - funny, friendly, professional, and sober.
I don't talk about God much in this blog, but I am grateful to Him for giving me the strength to say no to all the offers of alcohol I've had today.
Another sober day to add to all the others on the chalkboard in my kitchen. Another night I shall go to bed and fall asleep because I'm tired, not pass out because I'm drunk. It feels good. It feels very good.