A few years ago amidst a period of very heavy drinking, I went on holiday with my then partner and our three children (2 of his, 1 of mine).
Right up until the day we left I had been downing at least a bottle of wine a night, every night, for weeks on end and as a result had experienced a number of distressing events, arguments, traumas and other assorted booze-related catastrophes.
I made the decision to have an alcohol-free holiday because we were taking our three children with us and I couldn’t trust myself to not do or say something terrible that would ruin everyone’s memories of that week forever more.
It was a simple decision to make and a relatively easy one to stick to. We drove down to Cornwall and stayed in a beautiful big house set in rolling green hills and farmland. The sun shone all week and we spent seven days surfing, swimming, eating ice creams, and in the evenings played trivial pursuits and watched films. We caught some amazing waves and I remember one in particular that my ex-partner’s daughter, my daughter and me rode together, the three of us careering towards the beach screaming and laughing at the breath-taking way we had been possessed by the sea.
I spent the week relaxed, happy and content, relieved not to be waking up each morning with that familiar sense of dread and having to apologise to those around me for my lack of control and inability to realise that I had reached my wine limit but still continued to drink, yet again. How do you apologise to children for being drunk and stupid? You can’t really – they don’t, and neither should we expect them to, understand.
However, as was my way back then, I reached the end of the holiday feeling refreshed and full of vigour, tanned, happy and free and then hit the bottle again upon reaching home. It would take me a further five years to stop for good.
As we approach this year’s holiday to Cornwall in a few weeks’ time I am not in a position where I need to consider whether to cut out alcohol or not for the seven days I spend with my fiancé and two daughters in a caravan near the sea. I am lucky enough to have reached a stage in my life where I know I will never put myself through the torment of substance abuse ever again. My holiday at the end of May will be the same as every other holiday I will take during the rest of my life – a relaxing break which doesn’t involve booze, regrets and hangovers.
Drinking on holiday for me was like going sailing in a boat with a hole in the bottom –it starts out being fun but soon enough it’s going to sink and take everyone down with it.