Out of office is on. Bikini is packed. In a few hours’ time I’ll be flying off for a week in the sun. It’s a cheap deal to a quiet resort that has a good fitness centre. Sunbathing, running and rest are high on the agenda.
Holidays might be a trigger for some people but I’m not too worried, mainly because over the past few years they’ve been about the only time I’ve managed to stay sober. Whilst a luke warm summer’s day in England makes me want to sit in a beer garden, something about the intense heat abroad makes me want to sip water. Even at the height of my drinking I used holidays as an opportunity to give my body a break from the booze.
I’m going away on my own. To be honest, I can’t decide whether I should be proud of the fact that I’m an independent woman happy to travel alone, or whether I should be embarrassed that I haven’t got anyone to go with.
My best friends are all in relationships and understandably, want to spend their holidays with their partners. Strictly speaking I do have other people I could go away with, but I’d rather be on my own. I can’t imagine spending an entire week with any of my single friends right now. They’d want to go out every night and watching them gulp piña coladas would not be much fun. I want to be selfish and do my own thing for a week.
Still … it worries me, how much I like being on my own. Has drinking played a role in this? Looking back, I can pinpoint a very specific time (2008) when I started drinking to combat loneliness. I’d moved to a new city and was struggling to meet people and fill my spare time. Drinking made my own company bearable. After a few years I moved again, landed a new social life and loneliness wasn’t such an issue. But by then my boozing definitely was a problem. I’d acquired a taste for drinking home alone and began to factor it in to my life. Did I want to go to that party/ meal/ pub quiz or did I want to spend the night drinking properly at home? Too often I chose the latter.
It was very isolating behaviour and I got used to spending yet more time on my own. Now that I’m not drinking, the desire for some ‘me time’ hasn’t gone away. In fact sometimes I think I need it more than ever. Without booze I no longer have an instant off switch and it can take longer to relax. Will this change? Maybe. Who knows.
Anyway – back to this week. I plan on doing a lot of reading. I’ve bought some great sober memoirs recently that I haven’t got round to reading yet. I’ll let you know what they’re like.