Thursday, 26 March 2015

Day 25 - Packing Up

Today is Packing Day. At 4am tomorrow Family SoberMummy depart for our annual ski holiday in the Swiss Alps. It sounds flashy, but since I gave up the lucrative career after #3's arrival we have done ski-ing 'on the cheap'.

Our ski holiday involves driving for 16 hours - through the channel tunnel, across the breadth of France and over a mountain range into Switzerland. It is always nerve wracking as we can never guarantee that the old banger is going to make it.

One year we broke down in France at lunch time (which the French take very seriously). We had to wait for hours until one of the local mechanics had finished his dejeuner before we could be towed away and repaired. Another year our licence plate fell off. We only realised when we tried to cross the border and were yelled at by the border police. Luckily, I have spent years doing arts and crafts with children and was able to make a temporary one out of cardboard and sticky backed plastic (thank you Blue Peter!). Plus, at least twice we've been caught in blizzards while crossing the mountains.

We stop at the last Hypermarche in France to buy all our food and drink as it's way cheaper than in the ski resorts, but after ten hours or so driving, the last thing you want to do is to drag 3 children round a supermarket! The final leg of the journey involves trying to fit snow chains on all the tyres in the dark (and often in a white out), to get up the final mountain to our (self-catering) apartment.

But then we wake up on Saturday morning and there will be icicles hanging from all the windows, and we'll look out onto the snowy alps and breathe in the cold, crisp air - and it'll all be worth it. Well, for the husband and #1, #2 and #3 it will. They will throw themselves down sheer rock faces shrieking with glee. Then they all wait at the bottom pointing up and laughing at me while I slowly edge down thinking "I have not got time for a broken leg" and "God, I need a drink".

Needless to day, this trip is usually fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol. There's the 'helping with the packing' bottle (the result of which is that, whilst all the children's stuff is remembered and neatly packed, I invariably forget something crucial of my own - like knickers), the 'thank god we've arrived' bottle, the 'we're on holiday and it's lunch time' bottle, the 'I made it down alive' bottle, etc etc. This time I'm going to have to have the bottle to do it all without the bottle.

On the upside, I will be away from all the usual triggers: my fridge, the wine rack in the hall, the wine shop, my drinking buddies and so on. Plus, I've found that the most effective way to beat cravings is being outdoors and exercise, and there's going to be loads of outdoors and exercise. And the beautiful Swiss Alps have to be the very best place to practice Mindfulness.

I notice that I have loads of readers in the UK and US, plus lots in places like Ireland, Finland, Belgium, Spain, France and the Netherlands. But only 2 page views from Switzerland - and I bet those were in error. I reckon the Swiss are just too sensible (and live in a place too beautiful) to end up as alcohol addicts. After all, Switzerland is where all the mad English aristocracy were sent to 'take the cure' in Victorian times - they got bored of all the fresh air and clinics so they tied planks to their feet and invented downhill skiing - I kid you not.

Given that we are doing budget holiday, our apartment has no wifi. I will try to post from a cafĂ© or something while I'm away, as writing this blog and reading your comments has become rather an addiction in itself, but I'm not sure how easy it will be so do not worry if I go quiet for ten days. I may have fallen off a mountain, but I will not fall off the wagon. (repeat endlessly to self).

If you're new to this blog then "HELLO AND WELCOME!" and please do check out some of my previous posts while I'm away. Here are some ideas:

If you're looking for some good reasons for not drinking then have a look at: The wine belly, livers and mojos, sleep glorious sleep and why ex-drinkers rock.

If you want to know about the downsides of quitting look at: alcohol withdrawal symptoms, will I lose all my friends and fed up Friday.

If you're interested in my journey so far check out: Mummy was a secret drinker, the Maintenance drinker, secret drinker hits the high bottom, discovering mindfulness and Sundays - hair of the dog.

Love, and Happy Easter, to you all! SM x


  1. I'll be one of your Belgian readers SM! Sounds like a real Von Trapp family adventure, I can imagine you pushing the car singing "Climb Every Mountain"

    Like you, I always hated skiing until February while toying with sobriety I booked myself a couple of personal lessons (with the money I saved by not buying wine!) with a very dishy young Frenchman. My skiing improved no end!

    Enjoy yourself and your time with the family.

    1. Spooky - I grew up in Belgium - Tervuren. My first experiments with beer (and boys) were in the Roi d'Espagne in the Grande Place! Good idea re: skiing lessons - I can flirt with the instructor and leave the rabble to it...

    2. Small world! Although I am originally from Edinburgh. Lessons are definitely worth it. Have a very happy Easter SM.

  2. I went on a ski holiday in late january and did it sober, you can too! Enjoy the holiday and I hope you've remembered your knickers this time without the bottle to help pack the cases.

    Love the blog thanks for posting on mine x

  3. Have a fun time! I love mountains! I love to ski, too!
    Keep on your sober path. It does get better, and is so worth it.

  4. Have a lovely time we will miss you whilst you are away enjoy the fresh air stay positive and enjoy the excuse for excess chocolate !!

  5. Happy travels!! Looking forward to your travelogue :)


  6. Have a great time and happy Easter!

  7. Have a great trip! I'm packing the family off to the beach this week. Booze-free. Always a first time for everything :-)))