Riviera Maya Mexico, 2019
We booked an all inclusive vacation at the Hard Rock Hotel. For the first time ever I am excited about sober vacation and not nervous at all. I can’t wait to experience everything sober. I am a little curious if I will feel like I am missing out, especially at such a Rockstar Hotel, or if vacation is different than real life and I might want to drink, because...vacay?
We land and I get a virgin pina colada at the airport. It is the best dessert drink I have ever tasted. Frozen, creamy, fresh and so darn good. I have never enjoyed a drink so much. The way the freeze melts in the heat and how I slurp the freshest juice ever tasted is pure joy.
We get to our hotel and we are served non alcoholic pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris while we check in. I say yes to everything offered. We arrive in time for me to check out the adult only side of the resort where the yoga temple and spa are located. I participate in an oceanside meditation class. At dinner we easily turn down the wine list, without drama or emotions.
The drinks offered on the family side of the resort are all non alcohol, like fruit punch or margarita, with bottles of alcohol next to them, if you would like to add it.
I love this = options!
No feeling like a freak show because your drink doesn’t have alcohol. All the drinks, and all the cups, all look the same. The sober drinking was surprisingly really a non issue at Hard Rock Hotel.
On Day 1 I do my first Tezmazcal treatment with a shaman. This experience is going into a stone hut with a shaman and through the use of steam and herbs you purify your body and spirit. I will have to write a whole blog post on my spiritual awakening here, but let’s just sum it up by the fact that I screamed (yes!) and cried in all the best ways. I felt renewed when I was done.
Then I joined my husband and kids for pool time and an iconic 4th of July Beach party, complete with bbq, Elvis, and fireworks.
Day 2 we went to see Chichen Itza, a wonder of the world and Cenote, a sacred well, which we swam in. This was an amazing day.
Day 3 I was up at sunrise and joined a hatha yoga class. Then I had a facial and the best massage of my life at Hard Rock Spa. The day ended with dinner on the ocean and a sunset walk back to our room.
Day 4 we took a Catamaran boat and snorkeled. We even saw a sea turtle. It was absolutely glorious.
There was a shy, young, male honeymooner that was too panicked to snorkel and after the bar opened he proceeded to get visibly drunk and chatty with everyone. I don’t know how to explain it, but from the moment I got in the van next to him for our excursion, I could feel his energy. I felt connected to him immediately for no apparent reason, I hadn't even heard his voice yet. After I watched his day play out and he shared his fears, hopes and dreams with me, while he was buzzed up and complimenting my family, it all made sense. My heart went out to him. He was the drunkest person there. To me, he was also the most sensitive, kind, insightful, and tender person there. I liked him the best and from the looks of his newlywed wife, I could see that it was not the first time drinking had taken him over. Can we all just send him the best big love on his path right now?
Day 5 we ventured to Playa Del Carmen for dinner and shopping. I loved everything and purchased a few embroidered blouses, a straw bag, and a blanket for my in home yoga studio. The kids got henna tattoos and we enjoyed a bit of local flavor in all the ways.
Day 6 was check out but our flight was delayed so we got extra pool and waterpark time. We were upgraded to first class on our flight home and were absolutely giddy about the warm towels, full service, and chance to lay flat in our seat with movies and blankets. I said a secret prayer that we would never be too good or too entitled to get excited about first class luxuries.
I am home now and excited to get back to work. I am ready to reconnect with my dog Rocky, my house, ½ marathon training and everything I left behind on vacation.
Coming home was a wonderful feeling, just like getting away was a wonderful feeling.
All of this to say I was so excited about SOBER vacation, and as it turns out, drinking/not drinking was not a focus of this vacation. I didn’t have to have a drink in my hand, at all times. Not even a mocktail. When I was in the mood I ordered something, but not with the desperate need to drink, but also remain sober, you know?
The focus was on Mexico, the ocean, my family, fresh seafood, sunsets, live music, and more. The focus was not drinking. The focus was not being sober. The focus was in whatever moment I was in, fully DRINKING in the MOMENT, not the beverage. I felt so blessed and grateful to have had a dream vacation with my family. I wanted to hold the moment, as we all know, the kids are growing up fast and everything is temporary.
In full disclosure, there were a few uncomfortable moments between my family and myself. Maybe because we are not used to so much togetherness? Or spending so much time together was also an opportunity to work on things that needed attention? Whatever the case, I was able to handle these things in an entirely new way than when I was drinking.
When I was drinking, I was a victim. An angry victim. I felt like everyone blamed the drinking, even me, so my feelings were not recognized or valid. Being sober is to listen to myself and trust my feelings. I am able to assertively speak up for myself. I stop the story telling running in my mind and focus on what I can do to improve myself, my relationships, or my environment. In one heated moment, I had to pull my husband aside and address a situation instead of avoiding it, drinking it, or letting it stew inside of me. I also didn't manipulate it by having the kids witness an adult conversation, not meant for their ears. We were able to work through the difficult emotions that surfaced. I am now able to gain clarity on how I feel, understand I only control myself, and make thoughtful decisions about how to proceed in uncomfortable situations.
I have the same ups and downs as I did when I was drinking. Life still happens. My reaction to life happening, however, has made all the difference.
“Toda aventura empieza con un si”
Every adventure starts with a yes!
I expected this post to be about drinks and sobriety, and it is really just about all the things I enjoyed on vacation. Drinking/not drinking is not really a thing anymore and I can't even believe it myself! You will get there too, it just takes time.
If you want to see the beautiful drinks I enjoyed, I will be sharing them on my Instagram page. Trust me when I say they were more beautiful and delicious than red wine has ever been.