I stipulated that I could have alcohol when abroad: that my sobriety was limited to the UK.
And so, two weeks ago, when my Virgin flight passed into international waters en route to the Caribbean, I was allowed my first alcoholic drink.
But, I didn’t.
Why? Because, I didn’t want to.
After one month of the tee-total life, I felt SO much better – internally and externally – and I didn’t want to undo it all. Even if the drinks were complimentary.
So when my sister ordered herself a Bloody Mary, instead I found myself ordering a soda water. Life has become a series of soda waters and do you know what – that’s okay. They are refreshing and taste great, especially with a dash of lime. FRESH LIME. NOT CORDIAL.
The eight hour flight was fine without alcohol. The only thing I missed about it was its sedative quality…what with being sandwiched between two rows of toddlers, who from their mighty and persistent wails were, one imagines, teething.
I had sort of made up my mind on the flight – that I wasn’t just going sober in the UK, but sober full stop – but I resolved to keep my options open. Maybe when I arrived at the hotel – a secluded boutique resort – I would really want a welcome Caribbean cocktail.
But, yet again, I didn’t. Or rather, I didn’t really want it. I wasn’t gagging for the rum. I didn’t feel that I was missing out by not having the rum. I didn’t need alcohol to enjoy the insane view, or the warmth of the sun on my skin.
It was the following day that I made my final decision. After a morning spent on water trampolines (excellent for sunbathing – though I hear, in my absence, the guidelines have changed and we’re not supposed to do that anymore), I went to the beach bar with my sister. She ordered a pina colada – the very drink that pushed me off the wagon on my last attempt at dry January in 2015 – and I asked in they could do a Daiquiri without the rum. They could! And, dear reader, let me tell you something, I actually preferred it!
There you have it. I am officially still off the booze. I am just over six weeks’ sober. And I am loving it.
Indeed, yesterday, whilst walking – trekking – up the gros piton in 32 degree heat, I kept finding myself thinking ‘imagine doing this with a hangover’. It would have been horrific. Climbing from sea level to 2,619ft in that humidity and heat, while nursing a hangover. Urgh, just no.
One of my reasons for giving up was the alcohol stitch you get when exercising. This was the most challenging exercise that I’ve done since going sober, and the difference was remarkable. Not necessarily speed, but how I felt doing it and recovery time, too. Earlier in this post, I mentioned how different I feel internally. I finally feel like my organs are finally clean – they feel good. Externally, my skin is tighter and smoother, my eyes bag-free.
Oh, and books read so far this month: The Psychopath Test, Bones For You, The Tea Planter’s Wife, The Quality of Silence and A Tap at the Window.
I’ll be back in England when I hit 7 weeks’ sober (next Thursday). I’m flying back on Sunday – I always try to be away or fly on Valentine’s Day, that hateful holiday (last year was Vienna, the year before Cape Town) – and on Monday I shall turn 27. It will be my first sober birthday in…well, years.
Until the next update, then. I do think I’ll try and visit here a bit more often, too. Not just to talk sobriety. The magazine (Blogosphere) is off to press on soon, so maybe there’ll be a couple of restaurant reviews/London based activities I will blog about. Are you gagging with excitement? Didn’t think so.
Anyway, I shall leave you with some more shots from St Lucia and Ti Kaye resort – my home for the last two weeks.