Sober Miami



I've never come to Miami when I was not drinking. 

Well, I did when I was a little girl. But, from the time I was in college, Miami was synonymous with drinking. (Kinda like every place, but with more sun and a partying culture on overdrive.)

Mojitos and sangria, cocktails and wine. Even before college, now that I think of it, I started going to the gay bars, revelry from one spot to the next on Lincoln. Them, later, when the cheap shots were replaced by expensive cocktails, sitting out on patios, balmy nights and possibility as far as the eye can see.

It has rained our entire trip here -- four days of it coming down on The Standard, my favorite place to stay. I actually loved the rain days, climbing into the bathtub on our deck, laying on the heated marble of the hammam. I pressed my body against the rock, extending my arms, pointing my toes, activating every muscle.

 "Be careful about drinking and going in the sauna," the conceierge said. I didn't have to anymore. But I once did.

$13 drinks? Keep 'em coming. We'd pay the tab later. Always later. The sugar and the rum flowed all day long, followed by pounding headaches.

Sober Miami, like sober rest of the world, is not the same. I found myself on a Saturday night in South Beach, sipping coffee amongst strangers whose story was mine, all the while the music was thumping on the other side of the beach.

How different this life is. 

in Wynwood, in between seeing the art walls and ducking into fair trade shops, we sat next to a table of a dozen women having a briefly celebration. looked at their glasses of Chardonnay and thought about missing it, but upon reflection I was just tired. My body was healing and recovering and I filled it with sparkling water instead. So much sparkling water, just like I drank wine by the bottle.  "Addict is gonna addict," my husband says. He's right, only now it's San Pellegrino. 

The women at the table got louder and louder with each goblet. 

No thank you.

Back at the hotel, we floated in the pool. The underwater speakers played this soft trance music and I stared up at the purple sky. Palm trees circling the pool, clouds passing overhead. releasing my body to the water, releasing the pain of my muscles. Supported. So this was surrender and sobriety. I felt it all.

In the morning I awoke and prayed, something I didn't do In the height of my drinking (other than the 911 "Please get me out of here" kind.  I rode bikes with my husband. So this is what it's like to not live, not to travel boozed up and numbed out.  Huh.

Did I look twice at the glasses of Frose by the pool? Yes, I looked. But then let the servers walk by. My party is my life. I have had every glass of wine and every margarita. There is never anything different at the bottom of that glass. For there is life only on the other side.