Because we’ve spent so much time in Southern Spain, my partner and I have often talked about travelling to Morocco which is a short ferry ride across the Atlantic from Tarifa in Andalucia.
We’ve always discussed it really excitedly and looked at maps and agreed we must it one day.
But, in the back of my mind, or in fact, looming large at the front of my mind, was a worry. My excitement was partly true but also partly a bit of an act. The worry was that I’d read somewhere that alcohol wasn’t widely available and could only be purchased in some hotels and restaurants. So, as soon as we talked about exploring Tangier, this worry would overtake me and I would have to pretend it wasn’t there.
The worry went something along these lines:
- what if I’m anxious or panicky and I can’t rely on alcohol to save me?
- I won’t be able to enjoy evening meals if there’s no wine
- I won’t be able to enjoy the scenery and the experience if I’m constantly worrying about where to get a drink
- I’ll have to find somewhere where we can get drinks so I can feel reassured but that’ll be on my mind instead of enjoying what’s in front of me
- Sitting at a café won’t be the same if I can’t have a drink
- I’ll be pretending to enjoy myself all the time and I’ll be exhausted and drained and more likely to experience an anxiety attack
- I’ll need to engineer it so we do stay at a hotel that serves alcohol but without making it clear that that’s what I’m doing
- I won’t be able to go off exploring like my partner will want to because we might end up somewhere that doesn’t serve alcohol
Look at all the wasted thought and energy all of that took. And, that was just discussing a potential
trip that we still haven't made. Plus, the energy it took to pretend none of this was going on and I was just as excited and happy about it all as any normal person would be.
Today, my brother is staying with me this week (I’m in Andalucia dog-sitting again) and we’ve planned a two-day trip to Morocco in a couple of days’ time. We’ve booked the ferry, we’ve booked an apartment for one night and we’ve been researching where to go and what to see.
And, the difference in my thoughts and feelings now I’m living life sober and free is dramatic. I’m feeling excited! No pretence – genuine excitement. I’m imagining the caves we’re going to explore, the camels we’re going to ride (the argument with my sister that might follow as to the welfare of the camels, which, to be honest, is something that will concern me), the little café I’ve seen photos of online where we’re going to sit and gaze at the sea, the boat trip over there, the architecture, the history, the market stalls, the activity, the people. Oh, and the apartment where we’re staying is part of a guest house and the hosts have six Siberian Huskies – I love huskies! – so, I’m looking forward to that too.
Being free of dependence on alcohol (whether it’s physical or psychological) removes a barrier to experiencing life. Not only that, it gets rid of the waste of energy that goes into pretending you haven’t or hiding that you have this dependence.
I’m a bit gutted that my partner won’t be coming on this trip, as is he, but we’ve agreed that I’ll suss things out and then we’ll both go together for a longer stay and explore further afield. In the future, we want to explore more of Africa and more of the world in general. And, being sober, this is all possible for me now in ways it wasn’t when I was drinking.
The world really does open for you when stop drinking - Morocco here we come! 😊