I just returned from a week’s vacation in southern Spain.
This is the first time I have ever taken a vacation in that sense… normally when I travel it is to visit friends or family, or to attend events (conferences etc.) – but I have never before gone somewhere with no plan, nothing to do at all, away from everybody I know and completely cut off – all by myself.
I found it an incredibly liberating experience. The “logistics” weren’t a problem – I have travelled a lot in abstinence, and was staying at a self-catering place anyway where I prepared my own food. But there I was… no plan, no agenda, no schedule… no TV or Internet, either… and life became so simple.
In the morning I would get up, have breakfast, spend time with God and meditate. I wrote letters. A few mornings I sat in the sun, in the garden, with a book. I didn’t even keep to any discipline with my reading material: within a morning, I would switch from a history book (yes, I’m interested in that sort of thing) to fiction, to AA literature, to guide books about the area. Or I would do a puzzle – it must have been years since I have done that.
I would make lunch, then head out – just down to the beach, or into town to window-shop (I found I’m too stingy to buy things I don’t need, especially on vacation when it means that I’ll have to cram them into my suitcase!) and walk around. I spent a lot of time just walking around aimlessly. Looking at things, people-watching. I walked along the beach. A few days, I lay at the beach (with a jacket on – it’s winter there, too!) with a book.
I did go sight-seeing to Malaga, wandered around a lot there too – didn’t go into any of the attractions because they cost money. I do not like being a tourist, walking the trodden tourist path. But I walked around, and up a hill where I could survey they entire city. Up on that hill, on a lookout point where I could see the city and the sea and all, I had a beautiful lunch that I had taken with me. Abstinence is beautiful.
Now I’ve come back incredibly, mentally refreshed. A little over a week ago I was hurried, disorganised, unable to concentrate – running ragged. Today I have an inner calm that comes from being in a place where I was able to listen to God and to myself again. Get acquainted again.
The point is: I took care of myself in abstinence. Going on vacation like this was an act of self-care, sorely needed at this point. Eating beautiful abstinent food that I prepared myself, while there, was another act of self-care. Every day that I do this – take care of myself by choosing recovery – I am loving my body and my life in a very practical way… but that is only the beginning! Life unfolds.
In Spain, one book I kept referring to was Living Sober (AA conference approved literature – if you don’t have it, I recommend it highly!). One message of that book hit home for me: and that is, there is a life to be lived in sobriety!
Today I have a life, and I’m making it the best it can be – only because it rests on a foundation of recovery. Today I don’t eat, NMW.