It was fantastic to get away to Portugal for a mini break with my wife but unsurprisingly we had company… my beast.
After the last few years, which we have all battled through it was finally time to leave the kids behind with the grandparents and enjoy some adult time in the sun. It was our 10th wedding anniversary last week so I wanted to mark the occasion by returning to the same resort and hotel that we holidayed in and loved before we had children.
It was also another ‘milestone’ for me on my sobriety journey. Sure, I’ve done the stag doo away to another English city and a Spa break away with my wife but I was yet to have a foreign holiday as a teetotaller. I don’t get the urge to drink at home anymore and it’s rare I have fleeting thoughts about alcohol but the ‘beast’ was hard at work from the moment we got to the Algarve. Once checked in at the hotel and wandering around the resort around midday all I could see were bars and restaurants with huge menus and signs promoting beer and cocktails. Granted the resort we were in was quieter than the typical places the Brits and Irish descend on to get pissed up morning, noon and night but it was still the ‘normal parafanalia’ as holiday resorts go and it was hard not to be distracted by them all as I walked through the 25-27 degree heat.
My wife could tell I was being affected by the environment because I was making comments about alcohol and what people were doing pretty much every other exchange with her…
“Ah, look at them lads all drinking pints already”
“Happy hour all ready over there”
“Why aren’t more people drinking in that bar? I’d be drinking now if I still drank!”
“Thought I’d see more people already ‘on it’ to be honest. It is lunchtime after all”
I think I was surprised on the one hand that I wasn’t the only ‘non-drinker’ in the resort as observations go but it did bring back the memories of holidays gone by when I’d be drinking all day in the sun. It was just what we did!
Anyways, I’m going to be honest. The idea of having a sneaky drink or two whilst away was on my mind and I had to fight hard to quieten those voices over the three days I was away. I wasn’t tempted when I was sitting in a restaurant with my wife or even on a night time when the bars were full of drunk folk (we avoided the bars on an evening) – it was during the days round the pool, on the beach or walking past little marina bars when I was tempted to drink. It would never have happened because I was with my wife and she was with me pretty much all of the time (and conscious that I was struggling a bit) but if I’d been travelling on my own? I think it could have been a different story. Who knows?!
We don’t work with hypotheticals in recovery though. Let’s go with the facts. I went away and I didn’t drink a drop of alcohol. I had mocktails and some 0% Portuguese beers with plenty sparkling water!
I return home with my sobriety in tact and another experience to tick off. I know I can go abroad and not drink. Did it stop me having a nice time? No.
It isn’t easy in recovery. Certainly not for me but I know over time it will get easier and easier. For now… one day at a time.
I’m really tired from the travelling and unpacking so I’ll wrap up for today bud no doubt I’ll share more in the coming days.