Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Swedish dinner party

This is probably a very strange thing for an alcoholic to do but bugger it, I wanted to so I did.

We hosted a dinner party here on Saturday night - 10 adults in total.

I chose a Swedish theme because I have some heritage there, so the menu was all smoked fish roe and pickled herring and salmon gravdlax and lots of dill everywhere. I decorated the table with yellow flowers and blue ribbons and Mr D printed Swedish flags off the internet and sticky-taped them onto wooden skewers - fun!

Can you see there's a shot glass on each place mat with a rolled up piece of paper tied with a blue ribbon? Well that's the printed lyrics to a Swedish drinking song called Helan Gar (Riversurfer probably knows it well). I've been singing Helan Gar for years with my family.. it's a short funny song and you have to pause at the end to drink your shot and then resume singing to finish with the last line.

And I thought what better way to kick-start my Swedish dinner party than with a group round of Helan Gar! So when everyone came to the table I told them to unfold their lyrics and Mr D went around the table filling up everyone's shot glasses and I sang them the song so they could hear how it went and then the whole table had a go. It was great! It was such a hit the guests all insisted on doing it between each course! So we ended up with about four rounds of Helan Gar I think....

Traditionally the shot would be aquavit or vodka but I bought Peach Schnapps and for the non-drinkers I made up a jug of elderflower cordial (nice and rich and syrupy).

Here's my mate holding his lyrics up so I could take this photo (took a few goes for him to get the angle right..!)

Ok so it felt a bit weird going into the bottle shop to buy the liqueur but not that bad.. and if I did have any sad pangs that I wouldn't be drinking it in the lead up to the party they only lasted about five seconds (honestly.. the thought "am I sad I can't drink?" popped up and got dismissed pretty quickly)..

I wrote in my last post that my biggest fear when I gave up drinking 2 years ago was that I wouldn't have the same fun, full social life that I had when I was boozing (the good side of the boozing).. and I'm delighted to have discovered that I can. I can still do all that silly, fun stuff without alcohol being involved.

This is what works for me and my personality and my recovery, everyone's sobriety is different just as everyone's drinking story is different.

But for me sobriety means I still want to sing Helan Gar and slam my shot glass down on the table at the end of it with everyone else. It doesn't matter one jot that my glass has elderflower cordial in it. Not one jot! The moment is about the group of people and the singing and the together-ness and the laughter. I can have all of that and not the booze and it's totally, utterly fine.

Love, Mrs D xxx


  1. Very cute table, so festive. It sounds like everyone enjoyed themselves. :)

  2. Oh my goodness, I have sung that drunken song many times hahaa Heeeelan gååår! How cool that you decided for a Swedish dinner party, and you sure got it spot on!

    It's so wonderful to read that your fear of not being able to live a fun and social life sober - did NOT come true. That you instead found the opposite! And a hangover on shots is a hangover from hell... yuk. Your elderflower cordial shots sounded much more yum :))

  3. I still have a problem buying alcohol - not generally these days that I'm tempted at all but just the quantity. I was sent out to get some for a BBQ the other week on return everyone just looked at the table loaded with booze and said "Jez Dad how many people are coming?"... See why would you buy 2 bottles when there was a pack of 4 and then you could get three packs for the price of 2 so clearly... you get the picture I can't see that normal drinkers only want two bottles, will only drink two bottles and stop at that etc.

    Once an alcoholic ... always an alcoholic I suppose....

  4. Such fun! I love elderflower cordial and have a non-alcoholic frappe drink with grown-up homemade ginger beer that is so popular in summer even the drinkers forget about G&Ts.

    And most of us sing and dance much better when sober -- I love going to parties and am often almost the last to leave. With the bonus of a clear head!

    I must see if I can get that song on YouTube.

  5. I love it! I still love to entertain and I still do and I still buy beer and wine and other booze for everyone else. Doesn't bother me in the least anymore.

    You're so right - it's the people and the experience that matter. And now I can REMEMBER the evening and the people and the experience.

    Yay you!

  6. You continue to inspire me with your socializing, Mrs D! One day i'll get the hang of it...i swear! Good for you to get this done. Thanks for leading the way!