There were a couple really difficult moments in Italy being sober. I remember two mild panic attacks. My front tooth left Europe with a stain from sobriety cigarettes. You see, I spent a month in Italy in beautiful Sirmione at the art residency Art Garda, run by the amazing Adam Ekstrom and Laren Was of Ghost of a Dream, and artist Giada Crispiels. I went into October, eight months sober, fully committed to my sobriety.
Almost every part of my trip reminded me of my favorite times to drink, from the plane ride, the aperetivo cocktail hour, the different wines with our fabulous meals, the after dinner grappa... oh lord. I just kept sucking down that San Pellegrino, aqua frizzante por fevore. I think the most difficult moment was when we just finished a nice meal at a tiny place we stumbled upon in Venice. The owner of the trattoria came out and gave each of us a glass of sambuca with 3 coffee beans in it. Bellisimo. Every great Italian place I go to eat with my family on Long Island also does this. The syrupy anise flavored liqueur gives you the warm and fuzzies while helping you digest, so comforting, so sentimental. It was a bummer missing out.
Here's what I learned. Italy is beautiful. The greens were new, the architecture was old, the landscape gorgeous (lake meets mountains, what!), the nutria were soft, the soda is better, and most importantly, the company I kept was top notch, friends for life. I felt fully supported and at ease in my new sobriety, and that really warms my insides. I remember all of my trip with a clear head and immense gratitude.
Here's some advice if you wanna torture yourself and quit drinking... Use the money you would have used on alcohol and buy glitter and gems and colorful sparkly outfits. Use the time you would have spent drinking and work on a project. Also feel free to contact me any time if you wanna talk sober life :) There are many support systems in place to help, and it was the best decision I've ever made.