One-Way Ticket to Happiness

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.

surfing_2

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.

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12 thoughts on “One-Way Ticket to Happiness

  1. Lel says:

    What a lovely piece to remind me of the benefits of sobriety . I got sober last August and avoided holidays altogether for the first six months . Had a beautiful week in Devon at Easter though , kids and husband . Like you it was wonderful to actually enjoy the holiday rather than stumble around every night picking unnecessary fights with my husband and upsetting the kids . A life that can be savoured rather than endured until the next bottle of wine . I love it .

    • Thank you for your comment – I think so many people equate holidays with getting drunk (me included once upon a time) but that holiday a few years ago and the ones I have spent since stopping drinking for good have been so much more relaxing and much happier all round for everyone involved! There’s nothing to be scared of in spending a holiday without booze! Hope you have some more lovely holidays with your family and minus the wine! Lucy

    • Hi Sue, I wrote that blog for the benefit of people who might be scared of going on holiday without alcohol. I hoped it might remind people of why we go on holiday, i.e. to relax and spend quality time with our families and/or friends. Try and think of all the holidays you could have in the future that won’t be ruined – after all you can’t alter the past, but you can direct your future. All the best, and well done on your continuing sobriety! Lucy x

  2. Yup, add me to those who ruined or at least tainted holidays by my alcoholism…and what I mean by that is that I wrecked trips by drinking, and I wrecked trips by not drinking. My not drinking was just as bad as my drinking, as daddy didn’t get his “medicine” so he was a grumpy, moody, selfish, self-seeking, angry, isolating, pouting boy. Who wants to hang out with someone like that??

    Great reminder on the joys of travel in recovery. It makes things totally different and the trip is so much better when we not only remember it, and fondly, but everyone else has enjoyed it too.

    Blessings,
    Paul

    • Hi Paul – thank you for your lovely comment as always. I have been through those periods too of denying myself my wine and being a complete grump as a result. When you get your head around the fact that you aren’t denying yourself anything, but giving you and your family so much happiness and positivity it really makes things easier.
      Hope you are enjoying your weekend, Lucy x

  3. Lou says:

    Thank you for writing this. The inner voice has been telling me recently that maybe it would be ok to loosen up on holiday and have a few. I know I don’t want to and I’m really looking forward to my first holiday AF in June. X

    • Hi Lou, it is for me a massive weight off not having to worry anymore about the effects of my drinking on those around me, or on me and my own happiness. Have the faith with this – AF holidays are the way forward. You simply can’t get that real deep relaxation when you are pouring booze down your neck each night, it has the opposite effect! The inner voice is your denial voice – try and ignore it and believe in yourself. I hope you have a good time, I’ll report back on my week in a caravan at the end of May/beginning of June! Lucy x

  4. Erin says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I’ve been alcohol free for 2 months and have been feeling great. Every time I think of having a drink I’m reminded of why I don’t but the past few days in the lead up to beach holiday I’ve been thinking about it a lot and looked up drinking on holiday to secretly find a opinion that said it would be ok to have a few on holiday. I am so glad I read your post before any others as it has brought me back to my senses and I’m sure I’ll have a great (even better) time if I don’t bother with something as pointless as alcohol.

    • The best holidays I have had have been alcohol-free. I used to come home feeling so ill and tired when I drank on holiday and totally missed the point that they were for relaxing!! Well done for your 2 months – that’s great! Don’t let the temptations get the better of you after it sounds like you have really moved forward in how you feel about living without alcohol. I hope you have a great holiday – get into mocktails instead; all the taste and none of the regret! Good luck x

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