Wakeful But Not Craving in Ho Chi Minh City

Oofa, the wakefulness in the wee hours has been really driving me mad. These past few days have been effing tricky. This is like when I had booze-fuelled, anxiety-filled 3am wake ups… I have a little headache all day too, and am collapsing into bed early and asleep by 9pm. My quit lit readings telling me this is pretty standard.

But today, I woke up at 6.30am and called it a lie-in. I had been awake here and there in the night, and snoring I am told, but had got back to sleep quickly. Am feeling a bit sick, with a sore throat and runny nose but not too bad at all.

We are eating so well here. Lunch was at an old Saigon French Colonial villa restaurant called Indochine, and this evening we walked to Hom, a rather upmarket vegetarian restaurant. It’s all fruit juices and mocktails and there’s no urge at all for alcohol, so weird.

I’m reading lots of posts on AF Facebook groups and commenting on the wonderful Sober In The Country Facebook page. I really am surprised that there’s no urge to have a drink. Yes, I had already been thinking that this might be a booze-free holiday even before I took on that 31-day challenge. I knew there would be none of the home-based triggers and none of the favourite drinks here. I knew wine would be expensive and imported. But finding so many AF drinks here has also been a massive help. If I need a treat or a taste sensation then there’s no shortage of new things to try. And I do love novelty.

The irritants and stressors are plentiful here though. The twins are doing Olympic-level bickering. Really they’d rather be in Australia with their friends than here exploring with their aged parents. Ms13 finds some of the touring wearing, too hot and too much change. She gets annoyed, she gets overwhelmed by people. We let her miss most of the HCMC tour today, except lunch, and this was a relief for all of us.

My favourite part of the trip so far was my two hour wander alone through the Ancient Town of Hoi An. I love lonely explorations, there’s nobody else’s whims or desires to cater too, one can dart here and there through the backstreets like a little fish. Freedom! I guess I would find travelling with anyone frustrating at times. Paul is often so considered and so slow. The kids are so much less engaged with everything around us that we adults are. I also have not been feeling 100%, which is totally to be expected except that I didn’t expect it. That first week I just got so tired so early and had to collapse. Destroyed by a little time difference but more so by the not drinking, I expect.

Anyway, no eruptions from anyone today and we all enjoyed some quiet time in the afternoon and evening. One bloody day at a time, eh?

Back to the miracle of there being no cravings for alcohol.. am gobsmacked! In fact, there’s been the opposite of craving, a sudden and rather surprising feeling that I am now alcohol-free forever. Which also feels like free forever. The relief of it, it feels like the time when I finally, finally managed to stop smoking. The mind shift has occurred, there’s no hankering and no feeling of missing out.

Potential future conversations do run through my head though, with people who may care, may notice, may criticise. Of course, I’ve been here before, several times. In these imaginings this time though, I am biting back quite harshly. We’ll see.

I wonder when I will feel that I need or want a drink. It will be interesting. I’m naive when I think it’s all over. That’s wishful thinking. I will cultivate that all or nothing attitude though.

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