Spring Break, Man.
On my 21st birthday (also my golden birthday), I got a tattoo and headed to Panama City Beach for a week in the sun with my friends.
Finally legal to drink alcohol!
I watched frat boys drink so much that they dug a hole in the sand to puke in and then cover it up and drink some more.
Even as a party girl myself, I felt sad watching this.
I wondered what their mothers’ would think and it seemed dangerous.
Spring Break has always been a thing for me.
On my first sober Spring Break 3 years ago, my husband and I sat there at the pool listening to Jimmy Buffet and staring at each other.
What in the hell were we going to do?
How was this going to be fun?
Who does this?
Who stays sober on Spring Break?
It seemed awkward, uncomfortable, and even painful at the time.
If that’s where you are at, this is for you!
Flash forward to today, 3 years sober, and many vacations in.
I just returned from a long weekend away and I am preparing for Spring Break next week.
Alcohol is not even a thought.
I will be partying with friends, going to bars, and most people around me will be drinking.
This is no big deal to me anymore.
I am going to tell you how I got here and how you can too.
The first sober vacation will be weird.
There is no way around it.
You are used to drinking through your vacation.
You won’t be rewarding yourself with alcohol this time.
You’ll have to find something else to do.
For me that was morning beach yoga and nightly walks to the ice cream shop.
For some client’s it’s been painting pottery and listening to music.
For many it’s fitness activities, journalling, and lots of club soda with extra lime.
Eventually, Spring Break becomes less about drinking and more about experiencing.
It’s about sunny weather, the crash of waves, and feeling at one with yourself.
It’s indulging in more of what you love:
Spending time with those you love
Sunrises, sunsets and being fully present to enjoy them.
Alcohol takes away your ability to adventure to new places.
Alcohol takes away your ability to connect with those you love.
Alcohol takes away your presence to focus on what you are experiencing.
Alcohol dulls your senses.
Alcohol becomes the main stage act.
When drinking you miss out on seeing the sights, tasting the food, feeling the energy.
You are locked in your own foggy, anxious, mind.
On my recent get away, I enjoyed coffee, botanic gardens, and a game of Scrabble in a college cafe.
Does this sound boring to you?
Maybe it does, but it was delightful to me.
I could show up for my family and myself.
I was proud of my actions. My behavior was in alignment with my values.
I don’t think blacking out is fun.
I don’t think having anxiety about when my next drink is coming is fun.
I don’t think waking up sick with regret is fun either.
I’ll take boring, nerdy, inner peace over all of it.
I don’t need to be staying out all night making an ass out of myself for a good time anymore.
I don’t need loud noise to prove a good time.
Sobriety taught me to sit still and enjoy the simple things.
Finding inner peace and joy wherever I go is the ultimate goal and sobriety has gifted me with lasting contentment.
Even vacations are better.