I'm 3 1/2 Years Sober and I Wanted a Drink On Vacation

On my vacation we did so much lazing around.

Just napping, sitting, lying, being. 

So much nothing. 


It was the perfect place to do it.

We were always poolside, with a view of the ocean waves.


Some days we were under the shade of a cabana. 

I would read and sleep and swim and read and sleep and swim. 

Eating tacos at regular intervals. 

Laughing with my kids. 

We were all so relaxed. 

It was a beautiful escape from the busy hustle of our regular lives. 


We had a beautiful soaking tub on our balcony. 

Every afternoon my oldest would go enjoy a bath in solitude. 

I would get up early each morning for coffee and reflection with the ocean alone. 

My youngest joined in on the games and my husband golfed a few times.

I did yoga and had a spa day.

We all had the right mix of togetherness and alone time too. 


We only left our resort one day. 

We were there for a week. 

We could have stayed more. 


I thought we’d be bored, antsy and ready for an adventure like we usually are.

Just laying around in paradise was enough for us. 

I loved it. 

It was my favorite family vacation yet!


When we needed movement we’d go to the juice bar and get a smoothie and then wander back to our lounge chairs in a sort of zen like bliss.


Some days we did water aerobics or volleyball. 


We became friends with the staff and acted as their hype girls when they were recruiting people for games. 


In the late afternoon, we’d go to our room to shower, lather ourselves in aloe, and rest again before heading out for our evening dinners and entertainment. 


Late afternoon was the perfect time for us to leave the pool areas, because it’s when the drinking crowd started to get loud, sloppy, unpredictable, and dangerous. 


I have compassion for these vacationers, because I have been there. 

I have been them.

I now have new sober eyes to see.

What I thought was fun, now looks so sad to me.


When I was drinking, I thought everyone was drinking as much as me. 

I thought that was everyone’s goal.

Maybe I was even winning the invisible contest because I was drinking the most and pushing the fun louder than anyone else.


I now see how uncomfortable this makes everyone feel. 

Especially anyone not drinking. 


One day, a group of 30 year olds started to take over an area where we were sitting. 

They actually sat on my chair and one woman wrapped my towel around her.

I politely acknowledged they were in my spot. 

The woman quickly apologized and let me know I was in for a treat, because I had a front row seat to a race they were holding. 

I do not believe she was trying to be rude by barging into my space,

I think she just had no idea anyone else was there, but her and her group. 


Two grown men from her party proceeded in a visibly drunken barefoot running race on the concrete by the pool causing much commotion. 


No one outside of their group was actually interested in watching this show.

In fact, most people in the pool were turning their backs to it.

The group was demanding attention every way they could. 

Singing, screaming, recruiting an audience.

Climbing on chairs and announcing the race.

They were rallying! 

It came as no surprise to me that just a few seconds into the race, one man fell into a bush and hurt himself.

The other couldn’t stop running, and ran into a wall.

He hurt himself too. 

In front of a pool full of kids. 

The minor injuries settled the party down a bit and they left my spot. 

I continued reading my book.

So glad to not be part of that party anymore.

As a drinker I would have been leading that show.

“Making memories” I would say, as if running into walls is so hilarious and so much fun.


Another day I witnessed a loud, sassy mom with a southern accent, trying all day to make friends. 

She was chatting it up with everyone around her as she sipped from the straw of her oversized insulated cup and her kids played around her. 

By mid afternoon after playing by himself all day,  her 5 year old boy was begging for attention.

Her mascara was running down her face, she was beyond tipsy, and making small talk with someone else in the pool. 

She proceeded to scream at her kid to go find his Dad and leave her alone. 

Her boy’s face was so defeated. 

My heart sank to witness this. 

I am pretty sure I could have done something similar. 

I have so much compassion for this Mom.

I know she didn’t mean to react this way. 

It wasn’t her talking, it was the booze. 


At one point I was served Rum and Coke instead of Diet Coke. 

Can I be honest with you?

That first taste of cheap rum lit me up! 

This is what my husband drank in college!

It brought back a flood of fun memories and treasured yesterdays. 

Alcohol was always a problem for me, but it wasn’t always a problem for me. 


Having an accidental sip of rum on vacation, as a sober mom (and recovery coach) tasted like danger and living on the edge.

It felt like the sexiest secret I could have. 

It felt like that part of my brain was re awakened and I missed her.

My old best bad friend from the past. 

No one would know if we hung out.

How romantic and seductive?!

I could be swept away with my little rum just sipping away in pure daylight, getting soft and woozy and buzzed in my own mind. 

Just this one drink, and then see. 

Maybe even more?

OMG how exciting!!! 

A part of me wanted it. 

I really did. 


I sat there with those thoughts for a second.

My heart was pounding with thrilling adrenaline, and I quickly made a decision.


I did kinda want it, but you know what I don’t want? 


To scream at my kids, so I can continue small talk with a stranger, that isn’t even listening to me.

I don’t want to not remember my vacation.

Or my life.

I don’t want to be stumbling around a pool with my mascara running down my face.

I don't want to be more obsessed with alcohol than with my precious family.

I don’t want to think it’s a good idea to run into walls.


So I gave that Rum and Coke back and again asked for a Diet Coke.

Then I went up to shower, lather in aloe, and rest with my family before enjoying our dinner and show. 

No alcohol necessary.

The next day when there was rum in my pina colada, I didn't spend any time thinking about it, before handing it back and again requesting the virgin version I wanted.

p.s. I had a learned experience on this one Beach Vacay - From Blackouts to Making Memories


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