Um Galão

One of the first words I learned upon arriving in Portugal after “olá” (hello) and “obrigada” (thank you) was “um galão”, which is espresso with hot milk in a tall glass.  I knew if I said “coffee” or “cafe”, I would get a shot of espresso. My pronunciation worked my first few days.  But when I tried yesterday, the waiter told me I am better off sticking to English.

I am traveling solo the next few days. It makes sobriety easier. I know “lonely” is one part of the acronym HALT that we should avoid when trying to stay sober. But I hate the temptation to join my friends when I am with them drinking. It is not even peer pressure I am trying to avoid. It is the desire to fit in and be able to drink like them. Being alone in a foreign country allows me to pretend I was never a fan of alcohol. Saying “um galão por favor” as easy as if ordering coffee in a bar was always my thing.

Mistake 199- I was in Istanbul for a short visit a few years ago. On my flight there, I watched the movie Smashed. It is about a married couple who drink a lot. The wife decides to get sober after some very embarrassing and dangerous incidents. It made me think about my drinking and consider staying sober just for my few days of Istanbul.  But once there, I used the excuse of needing to try the local beer. So I drank some with every lunch and dinner. Not much. Just one or two a meal.

The last night, I met up with a friend.  He suggested coffee. Well we met at a coffee place that served beer. So I drank beer and he drank coffee. We both had flights the next day. After one cup of coffee, he decided to go back to his hotel to sleep.

I did not want to sleep yet. And I wanted to see what Turkey’s night life was like! So I stopped in a few bars and clubs on the way back. I sat in each place alone. Drinking a beer or two. I might have even had a few mixed drinks. It was pathetic. I finally went back to my hotel feeling a little drunk but not trashed. It was just wasted money and time. I had a hard time waking up the next day and my taxi almost left me.

Traveling sober is so much better!

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