Cruise ships and sobriety

As some of you may know, negotiations were underway for me and three of my favorite people to do a sun-and-fun thing in Cancun this January. We had, in fact, progressed to the Reservation stage, and there were exciting little emails from Expedia in my inbox, reminding me of thrills to come. Then Wilma came along, smashed the place to shit, and effectively snuffed our lovely plan.

The fact that said friends are not happy with me for giving up on Cancun is not the subject of this post.

What is on my mind today is this: in the course of trying to work out an alternative, a cruise was suggested. An affordable little stint on the Caribbean, excursions to a few islands, maybe a bus to the pyramids on the Yucatan. It all sounded well and good to me until I remembered something horrible. I am an alcoholic.

Now I'm not saying that alcoholics can't go on cruises. Of course they can. Alcoholics can do many things, such as drive cars and do their own shopping. No, I'm kidding. Alcoholics can go on cruises, unless the alcoholic is me, going on a cruise with three people with whom I once enjoyed drinking to the point of throwing up. This is not the fault of my friends. The fault lies entirely with me.

The party is over, see, but there's a part of me that is still sitting at the bar, bewildered and wondering why all the lights have been turned on. Hasn't the bartender noticed I'm a little dry here? Surely someone will be along soon to freshen up my drink.

Sadly, no. No more drinks. Including no more rum-and-umbrella drinks at Caribbean cruise ship poolsides, which is all the more depressing when you consider that I never liked rum in the first place, and definitely considered paper toothpick umbrellas an inconvenience. But what's really depressing here, what really bothers me, is that as much as I would like to say that I would be glad to drink seltzers with lime and remain blissfully conscious throughout my sunny vacation, I know I can't trust myself. That's the vicious thing about being a recovering drunk. You have to watch your step. It's a real bummer.

Now honestly, if I didn't value being sober, then I would take my chances. That's the irony. I don't always enjoy being in recovery; I certainly have problems maintaining my AA Attitude of Gratitude. You'd think, looking back at what a knock-down, black-out, vomiting, pickled drunk I was, that I'd be a walking litany of thanks. I wish. But I guess the rubber meets the road when I realize that I would rather be sober than be on a cruise with a drink in my hand. I would rather be sober than be damn near anywhere with a drink in my hand.

I miss my old life; I do. I miss the liberated flight of partying. It's not always a thrill to be in recovery, but it feels real. Sometimes it takes an unexpected offer to remember what that's worth.

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