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Sober-ing through my first alcohol-free Holiday

It's been a few weeks since I wrote and I wanted to blog about how I got through my first sober vacay. Firstly though, today is day 123 of sobriety, which is also 4 whole months [hooray]. Cue immense pride.

I recently went away with my boyfriend for a weeks holiday. Normally my holidays were always the same format: Drink shit loads of miniature wines on the plane. Land, arrive at the hotel and seek-out the bar for a cold beer. Do some stuff, see some stuff, eat some food, but critically important; drink lots of alcohol. Then multiply this by 7 [or 10] days. By the end of the week; check myself out in the mirror, very tanned and seven pounds heavier, then drink on the plane ride home. Resulting in some pretty foggy post-holiday blues at work the following week. Don't get me wrong I have loved plenty of my holidays, but essentially the alcohol was nearly always the second most important thing behind the tan if I am honest.

So this holiday I was to turn 100 days sober. Not only that but I also decided the only way I was ever going to quit my massive vaping habit was to do it during this holiday. For some reason a change in scenery really helps me to tackle big hurdles and I really wanted to quit.

So no drinking AND no vaping. Jeez. I was frightened it was going to be really boring.

I mentally prepared myself. I bought 4 books and an audio book to keep me going. I took my running kit and chose a hotel with tennis courts, my new favourite sport. I decided I was going to savour the fresh food, hit my 10,000 steps and allow myself a treat every day. I appreciate these small things perhaps sound simple, but it worked for me and forced me to focus on the positive and I respond really well to targets. I quickly got into a daily routine [as you do on holiday]. Starting with a nice healthy breakfast, lots of lounging about and reading, dips in the pool when it gets too hot, a walk after lunch and plenty of fresh smoothies, etc, etc.

I cruised through the week happy and fulfilled. I felt proud mid-way when I reached 100 days sober. I also felt great not to be smoking anymore. Aware that vaping is hugely addictive and very difficult to stop or control, I really wanted to master quitting.

I video-called my children twice, who I missed dearly most of the week. I cried a few times because of it and grappled with a lot of parenting insecurities and guilt. However, I remained aware that these were my 'real' emotions and not the depression you get s a side effect from from consistent heavy drinking. I rode through the rough feelings. I cried and talked them through and then tried to let them go.

I can genuinely say though, that overall I had the loveliest time. I didn't miss drinking once. I never focused on anyone sipping their cold wine, no pangs of craving for a cold beer, I just didn't think about it, I never wanted it. If I was thirsty I had a zero sugar lemonade, Diet Coke or sparkling water. I read four books and listened to Annie Grace's 'This Naked Mind'. I kept focused on my recovery, my health and I continued to feed my brain with helpful and positive information and experiences.

When I got home I felt refreshed. I felt well rested. I was ready to go back to work and ready to face the week ahead. No holiday blues and still none today, 3 weeks later. I feel like this is what a proper holiday delivers. This is how it should be. On reflection now, any insecurities I had about not boozing on holiday, have all been shattered. For this I am grateful.

So a few weeks down the line I am still riding the calm sea of sobriety. However, abstaining from nicotine has been a different ballgame entirely. I had a lot of intense cravings when I returned and my sugar intake has ramped up again. My moods are really up and down. I've been emotional, short tempered, frustrated and occasionally depressed, which is very unlike me character-wise. Its not easy to identify if this is all nicotine withdrawal, or if it could even be linked to Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome [PAWS]. It may be my early 40's hormones playing up. Who knows. I feel a bit better today and will stick with it [obviously] for now and keep you posted.

The good news is that I am 26 days nicotine free today. Woohoo.

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