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A week away to mid-wales with friends. They’re aware of my issues with alcohol and kindly offered to not drink. I really wanted to say “Yes please, that would be great”! Instead I found myself saying “That is so thoughtful of you guys but no, I want you to drink because I need to learn to be around people drinking”. 

After a 2 hour journey we arrived at our destination. It was a gorgeous cottage in the most beautiful grounds. I’d given myself a right good pep talk all week, telling myself it was going to be fine and I wasn’t going to care one bit that they were drinking. After all, I was 5 months sober now. I unpacked our suitcases, filled the cupboards with our food, lined all the toiletries up in the bathroom (in a far more orderly fashion than they are at home), decided which side of the bed was furthest away from the door and claimed that one (if someone broke in, Chris would be much better equipped to defend our family than me right?) and neatly stacked the kids games by the TV. Once the ritualistic unpacking was done ‘old me’ would have opened a bottle of wine, taken that first sip and thought ‘I’m on holiday, aaaaand relax’. So unsurprisingly, just like that, I was overcome by one of the most almighty cravings I have ever experienced.

How the hell did I think I was going to do this? A holiday, without drinking? Drinking is what holidays are all about. From when you’ve finished your day activities (no earlier than 12pm, because you know, that would be silly), continue while cooking dinner and then carrying on into the evening while playing board games and listening/singing badly to music. Then you drunkenly stumble into bed at some ungodly hour because you don’t have to get up for work in the morning (like that ever stopped me at home). How do you do holidays not drinking?

The best way I can describe that craving was like a panic attack. My husband, seeing and recognising my expression whisked me off to Tesco’s in search of AF treasure. I found plenty and instantly felt calmer. The first night was still hard, I really wanted to drink but kept telling myself it wasn’t worth it. As the nights went on it got easier and easier.

Waking up every morning with a clear head was lovely. I could sit, relax and read my book. I enjoyed the days so much more. On previous holidays, every day was a countdown to when I could start drinking. Not this time, there was no rush to get home so I could start on the wine. We just did what we wanted, when we wanted.

One evening we were all quite tired and agreed to head off to our beds to read at about 9.30pm. We discussed how ‘drunk me’ wouldn’t have been having any of that. I’d have made everyone stay and drink more, and if they refused, I would have stayed up by myself to finish my wine telling myself how boring everyone else was. I felt a real sense of satisfaction at that point that I’d stuck to my guns and not given in.

Throughout the course of week there wasn’t one evening where Chris or my friends were drunk. They never had more than 2 or 3 drinks, old me would have had at least 4 every evening. This week was further confirmation that my drinking habits were not normal. I just never noticed it because I was drunk all the time and assumed everyone else was too.