I have always found holidays stressful. I like to be in control so I choose where we go. I spend hours finding accommodation which will suit us all, in a good location and at a reasonable cost. I do all the peripheral planning: cattery booking, food delivery, insurance, activities….
When we arrive I take at least 24 hours to wind down. I am never 100% happy with the place I have chosen. I can always find something which could be better or which I have overlooked. I need to constantly check that everyone else is happy and even if they tell me they are, I keep asking. I must be really exasperating.
Drinking has always been a big part of holidays. The first night would be a huge blowout resulting in a tumultuous hangover the following morning. I would ease the symptoms with another drink or two and basically carry on like that until seven nights later, it was time to go home. Then at home, I would stay in the “holiday mood” by drinking some more. When it was time to go back to work I might manage a couple of alcohol free days but never more. And so it went on.
Now I no longer drink, a lot of that has gone. I don’t have to waste precious time and energy on drinking and thinking about drinking. I sleep better, and I have more energy to enjoy going to the beach or sightseeing. I don’t feel guilty or ashamed because I can’t remember the night before. My girls think I am more fun. Not fun exactly, but getting there.
This holiday I really noticed how central drinking is to many people’s holiday experience. I saw people drinking cava at breakfast time, huge glasses of wine in the searing heat at lunchtime, cocktails at every hour and this morning, red wine at 10.00am at the airport. It occurs to me that a lot of people spend their entire holiday in a sozzled semi coma with their alcohol levels never falling below a “maintenance” level equivalent to perhaps a couple of glasses of wine.
I have enjoyed being fully present for this holiday. There were a couple of occasions when I fancied a glass of wine but they were brief moments only and passed painlessly. I enjoyed some virgin mojitos and a couple of alcohol free beers but mostly I drank soda water and Diet Coke.
In the run up to going away this holiday was more of a hurdle to be overcome than something to be enjoyed. I have surprised myself by having fun, sober holiday fun. I had no idea there was such a thing. Sobriety, holiday and fun ? Surely not? Surely YES !! X