I celebrated 500 Days Sober with an all inclusive Hard Rock Riviera Maya Mexico Vacay for me and my family. I saved enough money from not drinking, that I could buy this vacation 2 ½ times. A sober vacation making memories is way better than endless bottles of wine making blackouts. But first let me share the history of vacations and drinking!
Costa Rica 2016
Spring Break 2016 I went with my family and my 2 childhood best friends and their families to an all inclusive resort in Costa Rica. It was a dream trip of a lifetime and we had a great time. But let me tell you about the drinking part of the vacation and my personal war within.
I was a little disappointed that I could not drink all the red wine I wanted, ALL THE TIME.
I thought that is what was meant by “all inclusive”.
Isn’t that the perk of all inclusive?
Doesn’t “all inclusive” = “all you can drink”?
I had to actually go up to a bar and order it...one tiny,(never filled to the top enough), glass at a time.
So someone (bartender) knew how many drinks I had and how fast I could drink them, and I don’t think that they understood it was not enough.
I didn’t want a witness to my drinking. This was my secret.
I could drink more than anyone.
A few times I paid three times the price at home, on our all inclusive (drinks included) vacation, just to have an actual bottle of wine in my room. I wanted to drink in private on our patio and serve myself. Thank you very much.
I can’t even pretend that I was tasting the local liquor or anything like that because I was just paying three times as much to drink the exact same red wine that I drank on my couch at home.
One day we took a boat ride and they did not have drinks and I was incredibly disappointed so the tour guides called back to the mainland from the middle of the ocean, and got special permission, and magically found 3 cold beers for my girlfriends and me.
So on that one occasion I did taste another flavor of alcohol, out of desperation, I guess.
Who has ever even been on a boat without a drink?
One night at the evening show, I was just drinking along with everyone else, and to my surprise, my oldest daughter looked at me pissed off and went to tell Dad that I drank too much again.
This was not the first or last time this would happen in my drinking days and at the time it angered me beyond measure.
Now, looking back, I swear these moments have made a few permanent cracks
in her heart and mine.
If I could take anything in my whole life back, it would be these moments.
I have to remind myself that changed behavior is the best form of apology.
This part is the toughest, but at the time I didn’t give a shit, and maybe even blamed her for overreacting? Or for sure my husband for playing right into it! I was maybe trying to sneak a cigarette too? I don’t know. I do know that I was trying to hide from my family on my family vacation. Doesn’t this all make sense? Take a family vacation, to get away from your family so you can do your nasty habits in private? Pay for an all inclusive so you can pay more to serve yourself just like at home?
Los Cabos Mexico 2017
Flash forward to 2017. I am going on an all inclusive luxury vacay in Cabo San Lucas Mexico with my husband and his co workers. My husband is flying straight from a work trip, so I am traveling with his co workers by myself. I have never met most of them.
I am 5 months sober. This is the longest I have ever been sober. I do not know how to socialize sober. I have been mostly staying home and going to bed and living that white knuckle, resist the urge, boring, HAVE to be sober life.
When we land everyone gets a beer or a margarita at the airport. I get a water. We arrive at the hotel and I am given two choices for a welcome drink. One with tequila and one without. I, of course, choose the one without. I take a sip and immediately taste the boozy, woozy, warm welcome shock of booze going down my throat. I am instantly thrilled. Adrenaline rushes through me. It is so good. Noone knows what just happened. I love this secret. Darin isn’t even here. I am shaking with nerves. Holy shit, I am not sure what to do. So I take the next best step by obviously setting the drink down and taking one step away. Having a sip of booze was an accident, but I can’t let it go. I quickly turn around and down the whole drink in one more sip.
Holy Fuck. I am on cloud nine.
Our room is not ready so we hang at the bar. Everyone is getting a full glass of that cucumber, lime, cilantro, tequila welcome drink that we just tasted. Literally everyone. Do I want one too? Yes, yes, I do. Then we order another round. Do I want another? Yes, yes I do. Darin arrives. Woo hoo, look Darin! I am having casual drinks with your co workers and I am fun and they like me.
None of the things we worried about, like me not being fun or able to connect with your co workers, is happening. I am one of them now. We are drinking together. Just two drinks, no big deal. Its not like I am drunk or anything.
I'll keep it in check during vacation. I think I overreacted about the whole “I gotta be sober thing” anyway. That was a good break, but I am back. I can moderate now. This is good.
By dinner I am back to my old favorite, red wine, as much as I want. Darin goes to bed. I keep drinking and sharing my woes with his boss at the campfire. I have just been let go from a job I hated. I am lost with what to do in my life. I sleep until 10:30 the next day. I wake up with a pounding headache. I miss breakfast. I miss yoga. I miss everything. I hate myself and wish I were different. I spend every day of this vacation like this. Hungover going through the motions until its time for drinks. Drinking too much. Waking up to self hatred. Missing every beautiful thing Cabo has to offer because I am pretending to be fine and normal, but wasting hours every morning in bed with a hangover. I promise to only drink on this adults only vacation and not bring it home with me. We all know how that ends. I am right back to my problem, but I have escalated it now. I am tumbling toward disaster.
Treasure Island, Florida 2018
Spring Break 2018. I am on a beach vacation in Florida with my family. I am 1 month sober.
We arrive and get to the pool. There’s music and frozen drinks and my husband and I look at each other in disbelief.
How are we going to do this? How do you not have a drink at a beach or pool on vacation?
We have never done it.
I feel like we are missing out.
I am annoyed with my family from our 12 hours in the car to get here.
There is no space in our small shared hotel room. I am antsy. I am itchy. Mad. Mad as hell. I can’t fix it. I can’t fix myself. I just go to bed. I tell myself it is just a day and I will get through it and I go to bed.
I wake up before everyone. I sneak out of my room. I get coffee. I head to the ocean. I do yoga. I settle myself. I love myself. I cry. I call my one sober friend, and she makes me laugh. I feel better and I go to face my family.
We are ok. I get through the vacation and remain sober. I manage to have a good time too. I am very strict about getting up early and keeping my routines in place though. In order to stay sober I need to do my things: yoga, meditation, alone time, sweat/run, journal. Every night we get ice cream for a treat. This fixes what might be missing. The treat of alcohol. I have fruity frozen non alcoholic drinks with the girls by the pool.
I am grateful to be sober, but it is a lot of work.
Next up...All inclusive Family Vacation Riviera Maya Mexico, Hard Rock Hotel 2019