My First Vacation Without Alcohol

In my adolescent to adult life, I have never gone on a vacation without alcohol. To be honest, I’ve revolved my trips around alcohol. From wine tasting to bar hopping to finding the coolest cocktails in town, alcohol was the main attraction of every vacation. It was honestly the perk of every all-inclusive trip where I could hit up the bar from mimosas to mules and from morning to night. For a very long time, I didn’t question my need to indulge in alcohol on vacation. It was the norm. Everyone did it. I would scoff and laugh at the idea of NOT drinking because why would anyone choose not to imbibe in the simple pleasure of a cocktail on vacation?

I came back from every trip utterly exhausted, bloated, and guilty. Guilty for over-drinking to a point of being sick or blacking out. Guilty for the fight I insinuated and the things I said but didn’t meanwhile my emotions were out of my control. I would sit in post-drunk guilt for days, sometimes weeks on end after any bender. Again, I thought this was normal. My friends would brush it off because they’d been there too. Everyone overdoes it sometimes.

I’m recently sober, a little over three months in. I chose sobriety because the truth is, I had a problem with alcohol. It wasn’t your traditional “drinking from morning until night” and “unable to function through daily life” type of problem we associate with alcoholism. The problem was the intention, dependency, and lack of control

Vacation Without Alcohol

Alcohol was the main character in every aspect of my life. Anything that was fun was only more fun if alcohol was involved. From hiking to kayaking to walks around the block, alcohol was invited. Alcohol was packed along discreetly for Disneyland and plane rides. If I went without it for an event, I’d applaud myself for my control and ability to enjoy life sober. I’d tell people, “I didn’t even drink”, as if staying sober for a hike was something to be amazed at. 

I Did It!  I Had a Vacation Without Alcohol

This past weekend, I went on a weekend getaway with my husband. We went to a tiny house at the lake. As I was packing our cooler with some non-alcoholic beverages, not once did he ask if I was packing alcohol because I’ve learned that alcohol is not the main character in his life. Honestly, it barely gets credit for being a role after college.  My husband doesn’t really drink. I always have to finish off the warm beer he’s been babysitting for far too long or the glass of wine he only ordered so I didn’t have to drink alone. Truth is, I’ve been drinking alone our entire marriage. I’ve been drinking for two. 

Vacation Without Alcohol

During the trip, we did everything we normally would do, but I was sober. I didn’t take a water bottle filled with beer to our hike nor did I sit lakeside with a bottle of wine. I didn’t wake up groggy, sick, or cause a fight due to my emotional instability while intoxicated. Instead, I reveled in nature and fresh air as we hiked, I finished an entire book lakeside, and we laughed, cuddled, and soaked in each other. I even had time for some personal reflection. The best part, I came back from vacation refreshed without guilt. I don’t have the bottomless pit eating at me for taking it too far. Also, I’m not declaring “I’m never drinking again” only to drink again within days. I’m not hurting or ashamed. I’m happy, content, and fully refreshed from the weekend away. 

If you asked me 4 months ago if I’d like to go on vacation without alcohol, I would’ve laughed at the thought. I would think that it was the silliest suggestion because why would I do anything without alcohol? Why would I spoil the fun? Deciding to choose me over alcohol was the toughest yet simplest decision I ever made, but now, I feel like the weight is lifted off my shoulders. Alcohol was holding me down for so long and without it, I’m truly free to soar.

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