How to Stay Sober on Vacation: 7 Tips for Success

As a former ‘Party Girl’ turned Certified Recovery & Life Coach and seasoned international traveler, I am excited to share my tips for how to stay alcohol-free on vacation. 

Let me start by saying, vacations are so much better when enjoyed fully present and sober. I know this might be hard to believe, but after many vacations and travels both drinking and not drinking, I am here to say sobriety wins, every time. There are no wasted days. No coming home needing a vacation from your vacation. No foggy memories. No embarrassment. No cringy photos, social media posts, or new “friends” that you have to face after alcohol was doing the talking. 

Yes, your first sober vacay might feel a little unsettling but I promise it gets easier. As a Sober Coach I have witnessed hundreds of people successfully complete sober vacations. No doubt when the time and place are right, you can do it too.

Should You Travel in Early Alcohol Recovery?

While...

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My Last Drink

Last week, I had dinner with some of the sober babes that I met on a sober hiking retreat in Sedona, a month ago.  Most of us live in Chicagoland. From the larger group, four of us were available to get together. We picked the most central spot for dinner. Lucky for me, that landed close to home. 

 

I was the last to arrive and when I approached the table I was welcomed immediately. Everyone got up out of their chairs. We hugged and squealed with delight at our reunion. It was so wonderful to see each other again. We were familiar with each other, having spent days and nights on a soul filled retreat together. We were also brand new, having taken off our hiking boots, and donned our pretty sundresses for the occasion. It was a thrill to be meeting up again, in real life, so close to home, solidifying the beginning of meaningful new friendships.

 

Our dinner lasted as long as it possibly could.

We ordered drinks. A round of the signature mocktail...

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What Climbing a Mountain Taught Me About Sobriety



Yesterday I met Mt. Evans of Colorado up close and personal and accomplished a big goal of mine = to climb a 14K mountain. 

 

Climbing a mountain is a big feat. 

Climbing a mountain of this elevation is a big feat. 

Climbing a mountain at this elevation, as a 46 year old woman from Chicago, was a real challenge.

 

You know what else is a huge feat and a big challenge? 

You guessed it, getting sober.

 

Throughout my entire climb I was trying to find the metaphors between getting sober and climbing a mountain, but they didn’t come to me, until the day after my climb.

 

I am first sharing my climbing experience with Mount Evans. Then, I will share the lessons I learned in retrospect. Let's start at the beginning. 

I commited to climbing a mountain a year ago, after a hike with a friend in Colorado. We decided to accomplish this goal together and we decided on Mount Evans. We got a parking permit, and put a date on the...

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Memorial Day Weekend

I used to be gone drinking every Memorial Day. It was tradition. I was pretending to have so much fun in pools and boats. Some of it was fun. Some of it was not. I am not faulting the company that I was in. I thank the hosts so much for their generosity. The problem wasn’t with them, the problem was with me.

I didn’t know myself. I didn’t know what I wanted or what I needed. I wasn’t comfortable anywhere. Truth be told, I loved the excuse to drink all weekend. I think everybody did. I am not sure anyone drank as much as me, but that’s not my business.

I was anxious.

I drank.

I woke up with hangovers and shame and did it again on repeat for 3 days of the holiday weekend instead of two.

I needed to start the summer with a big splash. Literally, lol. 

I needed to prove we were having So. Much. Fun. I needed my drinking, around others, in the daytime, to be super normal. I needed to compare myself to other drinkers so I could say “See? I am...

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What Nobody Tells You About Friendships in Sobriety

What happened to my friendships when I got sober?

 

Navigating friendships and finding people to support you in sobriety can be one of the most challenging parts of getting sober. 

 

How did my friendships change when I ditched the drink?

 

I lost people and it hurt.

 

I have long, complicated, painful, and layered stories of friendships that are now over. There are stories left unwritten. In truth, I still don’t have a full understanding of the endings or what could have been done differently. I am not sure if there’s anyone to blame. I’ve tried blaming myself and I’ve tried blaming them too. 

 

Endings are sometimes necessary, even when they break your heart. 

 

I’ve had changes in friendships with people that I love and I always will. I have disconnected with people who have a shared history with me and hold my deepest secrets. There are friends from childhood, who I have drifted from, and these...

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Mom Burnout is Not the Cure for End of the School Year Chaos

May is the busiest month of the year in my house.

I think this is true for many families, especially those with kids.

 

There are all the end of the year extras that completely fill our calendar. 

We have award ceremonies for academics, sports tournaments, and more. 

It's the final push for everything, when we’ve been running at high speed, since returning from Spring Break. Everything is due and all the deadlines are rapidly approaching. 

One more field trip to squeeze in. One more banquet. One more project. One more celebration. Not to mention the emotions of a season full of endings. 

In Chicagoland, it snows in April and the next day it’s 80 degrees. Summer seems to just appear when it wants and we are anything but prepared.

We’ve still got our winter coats hanging on hooks in our laundry room and our patio furniture stored in the garage, when the weather turns to the heat of the dog days of summer somewhere in mid May. 

This year...

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Is Drinking Really Giving Yourself A Break?

I used to do a lot of drinking when I got home from time away. 

 

I had a sunken feeling of being home. It felt like Sunday Scaries on steroids. I never knew what to do with myself. I didn’t know how to end the “good timing”. I didn’t know how to transition back to real life.

I didn’t really want to be in real life to be honest.

I wanted more social gatherings to keep my drinking looking normal. I wanted excuses to keep drinking alongside other drinkers. I wasn’t happy at these gatherings, but I wasn’t happy without them either.

 

This Spring Break we were bummed to leave the 80 degree weather and head back towards snow in our Chicago suburb.

I didn’t want to feel resentful about coming back to my real life, because since getting sober over 4 years ago, I have created a real life I loved, or so I thought.

 

I am sober now. I own my own coaching business. I love my job. Shouldn’t I feel excited about coming...

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When the Dive Bar No Longer Calls Your Name

fun spring break vacation Apr 04, 2022

I had such a serendipitous experience on spring break. We stayed in Naples, FL, for the first half with family, and in Treasure Island, FL, just the four of us (meeting our Chicagoland neighbors for dinner one night) for the second half of our stay.

 

We had a hotel on the beach for the second half, and before we arrived, my husband changed it to a place we had stayed before. As we were crossing the magnificent bridge into St. Pete's, I was overcome with emotion. We would be staying at the very same place I had my first sober spring break over 4 years ago. I remembered it so clearly. I was about 30 days sober, very wobbly, and unsure how I would make it through.

 

I did not have the strength and confidence that I do today. I was a fragile baby bird. The first day was excruciating. I was jumping out of my skin. Looking back, I can’t believe I made it. I am so proud of myself. That was so freaking hard. You can read about it here: ...

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My Experience with 75 Hard Mental and Physical Fitness Challenge

diet fitness Mar 21, 2022

I was inspired to take on the 75 Hard Challenge after seeing some of my Instagram friends do it. I started on a bit of a whim. I didn’t think much about it and just decided to do it. 

It is a big undertaking and a huge commitment in some ways. 

In other ways, it was much the same as what I was already doing. 

It was not a complete stretch, like it would have been a few years ago. 

I knew it would be hard. I also knew it would be possible. I couldn’t guarantee completion, but I could give it a try. When I started I was doing just that. Starting. I wasn’t attached to the final outcome. I was willing to take on a challenge and allow myself to experience it with no big expectations. 

 

I am not a 75Hard guru. I didn’t read the book. I listened to one podcast and I wasn’t a fan. I am not an expert of knowledge about 75Hard, nor do I plan to be. I am not even sure if I agree with anything about the founder or the program. This is...

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Drunken St. Patrick's Days of Years Past

holidays st. patrick Mar 17, 2022

At four years sober, looking back I can see how my whole life revolved around alcohol. 

 

St. Paddy’s Day is, of course, a huge drinking holiday. All I needed in the past was alcohol to make it a success.

 

So much so, that it was my first night  out just 6 weeks after my first daughter was born 17 years ago.

 

On March 17, 2005 I got out of my nursing pajamas and into my kelly green to hit up an Irish pub with a friend while hubs stayed home alone with the baby for the first time ever. 

 

I loved it. 

 

I was impressed with my hot mom body (don’t hate me). 

I had a skinny waist, brand new boobs, and insatiable desire for a night out of the house. I was ready to hit the scene and show it all off. 

I was thrilled when the opportunity spontaneously arose. I leapt into that pub, chugged my green beer, and announced to everyone that I was (gasp!) a new mom. 

I was just begging for attention, and on an absolute...

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