By age 33 when I got sober, I had relearn how to live my life without my crutch of alcohol. And while going through this process, and really starting to feel better physically, I woke up one day and realized I literally had no idea who I was any longer. It sounds so ridiculous, but at age 33, I didn’t even know what my favorite color was. Did I prefer to vacation in the mountains or on the beach? Did I like to take walks? What kind of books did I like to read? Do I prefer comedies, dramas, or documentaries? What kind of clothes do I even like to wear? Prior to my sobriety, the traveling I had done was minimal. Growing up, my family did not have much money, so we never left the country. My sister and I played tennis, so the few domestic trips we took revolved around that. All I did on these trips was get intoxicated, wherever I was. Too intoxicated to appreciate the trips or the people I was with, too inebriated to have any lasting memories of these places.
So by age 33, that was all the traveling I had done. By the time I got sober it never occurred to me that in recovery, I could literally do whatever I wanted. Alcohol no longer had control over me, so there wasn’t anything or anyone holding me back from doing anything…such a foreign concept! I was overwhelmed by the freedom of it all. Which brings me to the winter of 2012. I had about four or five months of sobriety and had recently met a girl who was also in early recovery. I will call her J. You know those rare people that you meet and have an instant friend connection with and feel like you have known them for much longer than you actually have? That was J and I. I don’t think I knew her more than a couple weeks when, in passing, she mentioned that she really wanted to go to Puerto Rico during the winter, but her friends that she wanted to go with had bailed on her. I didn’t even hesitate when I squealed that I would go with her! So a month or two later, J and I boarded a flight to San Juan.
Because it was our collective first trip in sobriety, I knew there would be alcohol all around us. I didn’t want to drink, but I guess I was still a little scared. I felt comfort in the fact that I was traveling with someone who was on the same page as me.