Tuesday, August 7, 2018

8/7/18 - I did it!!! Alcohol free vacation!!!

So we went to Vancouver for a vacation last week.   I haven't had an alcohol free vacation since I was a teenager - so basically never as an adult. Vacations for me are all about drinking. I let my "rules" slide and alcohol is part of every day. Alcohol as always been one of the reasons I love going on vacation so much. I was super nervous about a sober vacation.

There were a few times that were difficult like the first night we arrived at out Airbnb house. It was a cute little house with a great back patio with couches and a fire pit. Man, a glass of wine would have been perfect. Then we went to a "Social House". They are these restaurants that focus on their drink menu. Kind of an uppity food and drink place. We went there because it was in walking distance and we were starving. As we sat outside on the patio, I wistfully watched women sit around with glasses of white wine and was a little sad. I ALWAYS drank on the first night to celebrate arriving and the beginning on our vacation.  Another time was when we went to Whistler and rode the Peak to Peak tram. When we were finished exploring, we went into the ski lodge to use the restroom and there was a fantastic outdoor seating area with magnificent views. Of course there was a bar and many people were enjoying a leisurely beer. That was a little hard to see. An IPA would have been perfect. Two other times that were a little difficult were when we were at the "Local Public Eatery" in Gastown. It was super busy - everyone drinking - a lot of people watching - just a festive, party atmosphere - this was probably hardest meal. Also, when we went to Granville Island and sat on the dock overlooking the marina eating dinner. The waitress started by talking about a drink special - lemonade, seltzer and vodka. I would have for sure ordered that as it was kinda hot outside. I ordered a virgin one instead.

I got through all of those occasions without drinking. Was I a little sad that I couldn't get that "anticipatory, hyper, fun, relaxed, happy" feeling that alcohol gives me - yes. Was I super grumpy and mad - no. I was just "being", just living in the moment with a clear head and certainly glad when I didn't wake up with a hangover. I definitely felt better in the mornings. My dh got a little snippy one night and I know if I had been drinking I would have overreacted which would have turned it into yet another huge fight on vacation. I was able to just tell him how I felt and then let it go.

My daughter asked me a very poignant question while at dinner in both Gastown and on Granville Island. I made a comment about how I would have been drinking. She asked, "Exactly what would that do for you right now? How would it make this moment better?"  I really had to think about that. What would a beer have done for me? How would have it changed the situation? While I do like feeling buzzed, I think I actually like having a clear head better. So what is it then? I think it was the "idea" of it. The romanticizing of it. The perceived enjoyment of it. The feeling of being part of the party - which is stupid because I was just sitting at a table with my family. Maybe it was the anticipation of it or the sophisticated , grown up feeling I get when drinking, somehow drinking makes me feel important - like it inflates my ego - like I'm more cool or something....or maybe, just maybe, it is as simple as - I am feeding my addiction which feels good.

I found myself thinking about alcohol most of the vacation, but not in an anxiety attack, intense craving sort of way which I thought was going to be the case. It was more of a curious, what would have I been doing right now, how would have it changed the situation if I was drinking sort of way. I also noticed that my thoughts were not being ruled by - where is a liquor store, is it late enough in the day to have a beer, when are we eating and do they serve alcohol, will the kids get mad if we stop at Whistler and have a beer, would it be really bad to have a Bloody Mary in the airport at 10:00 in the morning, can I sneak of with my dh to drink so the kids don't see me, will everyone judge me if I buy some wine, will my kids get mad if they have to drive even though they aren't on the rental contract, is it ok to drink as it is vacation and I will just start over when I get back, etc.  My brain was a lot quieter and calmer on this trip. I felt a little less selfish and willing to be open to what everyone else wanted to do.

I definitely know being with my kids helped. I want to make them proud of me. They know how hard I have worked at my sobriety this summer and would have been sad for me if I would have drank. I am proud of myself. I didn't want to let myself down. I wanted to be proud of myself as well. Instead of coming home feeling like an emotional wreck, exhausted and ignoring everything I needed to do, I came home, got a ton done, got a lot of sleep and am ready to go back to work tomorrow. I DEFINITELY  have less anxiety when I maintain my sobriety.


  1. That sounds how my first sober vacation was, too!
    I’m so happy you found the good things about it! Way to go!!
    PS we took a vacation to Vancouver this summer, too! Loved it!

  2. Welcome to your new life!


    Keep adding to your toolbox. You are doing great.

  3. Whoop!!! Excellent!


  4. I've been thinking about you and I'm so happy to read your good news. Every single one of these victories makes you (us) stronger and sure. Congratulations! Melissa

  5. Well done you, very happy for you. I imagine there were a few tense moments and memories of times gone by but it sounds like you are super aware of how you feel. Great to read.

  6. Congratulations and thank you!! This is exactly what I needed to hear. You have inspired me. We just booked a cruise from NYC to Canada in October and I was feeling a tad worried on how to handle wine lists and specialty restaurants etc.. I have always drank on past cruises but this time I feel strong going on 7 months sober. So I hope to have the same resolve as you. Just curious -- what did you drink? Before booking the hubs called the cruise line and thankfully they do offer AF beer. He also doesn't drink to support me for which I am very grateful. Thank you again! God bless! J x

    1. We travel lots.
      I drink lots of coffee (hot and iced) and red bull.
      Hubby likes club sofa with lime and nonalcoholic beer.i don’t miss the wine.

  7. Wow - I keep a private journal of my sober journey but don't write a blog like this because I don't always know quite how to express myself. This post sounds exactly like some of my experiences in the beginning. Thank you for sharing your story with us - I can so relate... and keep up the good work :)