My husband and I took a long weekend to Vancouver this past week and it was my first sober vacation…in about 20 years!!! We had a wonderful time and it was absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t believe all the huge trees in the forests we walked through, the gorgeous ocean waters along the seawall surrounding Stanley Park and the vibrancy of the city!
My husband and I have not been anywhere where we didn’t drink. Our typical vacation would always consist of stopping by a wine store on the way to checking into the hotel so we’d have some for after we drank at dinners, we would stock up on waters to rehydrate in the mornings, and planed our nights around having wine at various places and drinking through dinners. I would wake up, feeling like hell, drinking water like I was a camel in the desert, and would feel like I had been hit by a bus the night before each morning. Just completely worn out and drained emotionally while trying to enjoy a vacation and time away from home.
Not this vacation! We didn’t stop anywhere on the way to our hotel. We went out to dinner, had amazing food…actually enjoying it and weren’t ferociously consuming it with worrying about how fast the waiter would be back to refill our wine! I will admit, the first dinner out was hard for me. I watched others drinking those sparkly glasses of wine and it looked so sophisticated and enjoyable…couples sharing a bottle of wine, friends having cocktails to converse over, and families bonding while drinking and toasting to whatever occasions. But I noticed they weren’t like me. They weren’t ordering glass after glass and were sipping on the same drink the ENTIRE dinner!!! That seemed foreign to me and was my reminder that I didn’t operate that way. My obsession with “more” would drown out the enjoyment of even the 1st glass. Every time I looked at a table with drinkers, I was reminded of that. It was a bit bizarre to watch normal people drink in ways that I never could. So even when that brief moment of “oh, wouldn’t that be nice” occurred, my heart knew what would follow that first sip for me…and it wouldn’t be good.
My husband was supportive and didn’t drink the first night (and hadn’t planned to the entire trip in support of me). At lunch one of the days, I noticed him eyeing a beer and told him I’d be fine if he had one…and I was! He had one beer and that was it. We went on with our sightseeing and then had a wonderful dinner where he had two more beers…no more. It didn’t bother me at all which was surprising, but maybe because we agreed he would just have beer if he was with me (a drink I never liked). He understood that him having wine would be uncomfortable for me, and respected that.
We grew on this vacation, both of us! We are learning to live with me sober…and we are loving it!!! Guess what??? It can be done and life can be fun without booze! Who knew it would only take me about 20 years to figure that one out?!