The Costa Rican Times has decided to add a column where both our readers as well as our staff can share stories about living in Costa Rica. If you go outside your house, apartment, or condo in Costa Rica, things will happen to you each and everyday that will both annoy you and have you say in your mind “Are you kidding me?”. This happens in your day to day activities each day if you are living in Costa Rica. Read and share your stories today! (Submission info is at the bottom of each article in this section)
Trying Costa Rica Sober
The first 4 years I was in Costa Rica I was the typical gringo on a permanent spring break. I left the corporate lifestyle and going to work each day in a suit and tie, to being able to use about 1/4 of my brain and wearing board shorts and a t-shirt to the remedial jobs in Costa Rica. Being that all I really needed to do was show up and I always produced I never ha to worry about being fired. This did not pertain to me wanting to keep un appearances during the work week,
Nights consisted of drinking, cocaine, weed, and sometimes stumbling into work the next day after all night binges. I was on a never ending spring break trip, and everyone I knew that worked in the sportsbooks was doing the same thing. After a day of working in Oficentro, we would start the night off at Macs American Bar and then after multiple shots and purchasing a bag of coke, we would see where the night would take us. Looking back none of our decisions were ever good or thought through.
After 3 years of this lifestyle it all caught up with me and I had open heart surgery in Costa Rica. From then on life in Costa Rica had to be completely sober.
This is what I have learned from experiencing Costa Rica Sober.
1. When I was drunk or high I was oblivious to how bad things really are and how many problems there really are in Costa Rica. All I was looking to do was have enough money to party and go out and that is pretty much the mentality of most of the population in Costa Rica.
2. I noticed that most of the people around me were not really people that I would want to interact with sober. Having an intelligent conversation with a majority of people in CR is impossible as they are not intelligent and gossip is what most of what they talk about.
3. There are not many local group activities (this does not include tourist activities) in Costa Rica that do not revolve around alcohol or drugs. If you get invited to anything it in most cases involves drinking. I even had one Tico say after I told him that I would die if I drink, that I should just do it anyway to “fit in.”
4. Costa Ricans are not really nice in most cases there is a hidden agenda for why they come up to you and act nice. It could be for money, a free drink, or something else. I have met only 2 or 3 people that have done something and not expected something in return. You will never get a call in Costa Rica to “just catch up”, they want something.
5. Being challenged and stimulated intellectually is very important to me since I have stopped becoming intoxicated. I can read a book, satisfy my curiosity online, or do other tasks alone at home but when venturing out into Costa Rica to find activities to challenge you intellectually or people to have an intelligent conversation with it is like finding a needle in a haystack.
I will never drink again or use drugs again and if you have a family and are comfortable just being a part of that family and coming home everyday and spending time with your kids, I think it is great and you can do it in Costa Rica with out drinking. However, if you are single and just living life Costa Rica is great for a continually binge drinking destination. If you are a non-drinker and want to live in Costa Rica and interact with others, this really is not the spot for you.
Share Your living in Costa Rica Stories by submitting them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stories should be no more than a page and a half in Microsoft Word. You can submit your name if you want, if not that is fine as well. Some people come to CR and experience culture shock and leave, lets tell the truth about day to day life in Costa Rica.