Tools for Travel

I am preparing to go on a trip to Portugal in a few days. I am quite excited. I have never been to this country. I only know one word in the language (obrigada). I have been having fun planning everything and keeping myself from too many plans. I like to keep my travels flexible. I have friends joining me for some of it but I also am looking forward to alone time. And I look forward to doing all of this sober!

I have been on a few roadtrips and mini-vacations since quitting alcohol. But this will be my first foreign trip. I love exploring other cultures but I do get anxious about the unknown. I like to learn new words but I get stressed by the language barriers. I hope I can handle the nervousness without turning to a bottle. I used to love trying local beers and I have a collection of beer labels from around the world. I am going to miss that.

But I am not going to miss all the time and money I wasted drinking. Keeping memories of the drunk mistakes I made on other travels will, hopefully, keep me from taking that first sip. I have missed sights or did not fully enjoy wonderful places because I was hungover. I have spent so much money drinking alone or with new friends in bars across the planet. I even paid $25 to drink one Singapore Sling in the Raffles Hotel in Singapore! What a waste for a drink! I squander so much of my life around the culture of alcohol.

I know in Porto there is going to be a lot of temptation to drink port. I remember drinking wine in Australia that was a port but called LHS, which stood for “left hand side.” I always tell that story when I used to drinm port. Will the Portuguese people understand that I can not drink any alcohol? Maybe I need to say it is my religious beliefs that keep me from drinking? Maybe no one will care?

I think I am more excited to travel sober than I am worried about relapsing. Not passing out drunk in strange places is always good motivation!

Mistake 188- I was visiting a friend in Thailand. She was living there for a year and I was traveling the country. We went to stay at a guesthouse in the jungle for a few days. It was very beautiful there. We woke up hearing Gibbons calling and saw many beautiful species of birds.

We had some plans of hikes and a lake tour. Since she was living there, she needed to do some work on her computer. While she worked, I drank. I started drinking Chang beers at noon everyday. I drank beer late into the night while she drank fresh fruit smoothies and tea. One of the days was rainy so I drank more than usual. The next day was the lake tour. I was very hungover that day. I looked forward to grabbing another beer as soon as possible to fix my headache. I lovingly called it my “Changover. ”

We charged all our meals and drinks to our room. When we were checking out, the manager pulled me aside. My friend knew him so we got discounts on the room and meals. But he said he recalculated the bill many times because he couldn’t believe how much I spent on beer. “Did you really drink THAT much?”

I would have to find my notes of my travel expenses to remember exactly how much I spent. But it was wasted money and time.

Advertisements

150 days= 5 months sober

It does seem easier. But there are still times I wish I could drink. I wish I was capable of moderating.I wish I was “normal”.

Then again, I do feel happier. When I think of how long I battled depression, it almost feels the alcohol was the main source of it. It was keeping me numb and I suffered so many regrets due to my drinking. I have not found all the answers to life with my short 5 months of sobriety, but I am finding self-love.

Two years ago, I traveled a lot around Asia. I rememeber I told a friend I wanted to get a tattoo that said “love” or “love myself” or something similar. I wanted to get it in Sanskrit or Thai or another languages from a country I enjoyed. My friend asked me why I wanted a tattoo like that. I replied “as a reminder to love myself. ” She told me I shouldn’t need a tattoo for that.

She was right. I never got the tattoo because I couldn’t figure out a correct translation. It did get an “om”, which is a Hindu symbol, but I got it as a reminder to balance out my life. I did not realize how alcohol was keeping my life so lopsided. It made so much else heavy with guilt and pain. I wasted so much time recovering. I kept putting off returning to school. I spent so much money on my habit. Now I am learning to balance work, school, finances, travel, and personal life all while staying sober. I am honestly feeling such an improvement in all areas of my life.

5 months does not seem all the exciting but it does seem surreal. I never imagine I would not drink alcohol for this long. Again, no huge treats planned. I got a lot of work to do for my class. It feels great knowing I have a sober brain to do all of it.
image

Mistake 150- It does not seem like a huge mistake, but it was something I regretted and time I will never get back.

My friend and I were traveling in Goa. We were staying with a friend. He and I stayed up late making sangria from two bottles of very cheap Indian wine. We both had the worst headaches when we tried to get up the next day. Our friend who lived there kept putting pitchers of water in between our beds all day. We slept all day. We would wake up just to take ibuprofen, drink water, and maybe go to the bathroom. We wasted a whole day that could have been spent at the gorgeous beaches or visiting a fort of a tourist site. We were too hungover.
I still partied a lot the rest of our stay. My friend did not. I think that was when our travel friendship started to break down and ended a few weeks later.