Fun in the Sun, aka a Sober Vacation

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Oceanana Fishing Pier

Well, what can I say, our vacation was great! We went to Atlantic Beach, North Carolina (USA), which is located south of the Outer Banks and often called the Southern Outer Banks. It’s a little town with a population of about 1,500 and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Money Island Bay and Channel on the other. It is not a hugely touristy area and that was the main reason I picked it, I figured it would have a less of a party 24/7 atmosphere. 🙂

I did go to a meeting before we left and shared about my fears of people getting wasted everywhere and behaving badly, and me, of course, being envious and angry that I couldn’t. I talked about being uncomfortable around people drinking at the beach, because I used to drink/party at the beach quite often and I still have that association in my mind.

Then other people at the meeting started also sharing a bit about their fears of sober vacations, and of course, I heard just what I need to hear! One of the things was, “I want peace and serenity, but I often confuse them with boredom,” and the other, “I have a disease that tells me that I don’t have a disease.” These two lines really resonated with me. I don’t really know how to relax. I seem to have a really hard time being still and doing nothing. And, oh goodness, I have to remember that thinking that I can drink like a normal person is just part of my disease! I know, and I have proven to myself many times, that I cannot drink like normal people!

So, all in all, I felt pretty confident that these were just going to be momentary feelings that would kind of sneak in, at some inconvenient times, as they usually do. After all, we have three kids and I was pretty sure that they would keep us busy, and my mind free and clear of any drinking thoughts! But could I actually relax!? Hmmm.

Working hard on the sand castle.
Working hard on the sand castle.

Of course, then as soon as we get there, my radar was on high alert, scoping the place out for any partying, or drinking, or inappropriate behavior. Isn’t that funny?! I don’t think normal drinkers do that! LOL! We were at a kid friendly family resort for goodness sake, and I am expecting young guys crashing beer cans on their heads, and girls ruining around half-naked. I am not sure where that thinking comes from, and why I am preparing for a scene from an episode of MTV Jersey Shore. LOL!

Then we went down to the beach, I am still scoping… nope, no drinking. Strange! (I am not thinking good, I am thinking strange? Oh that’s strange!) In the afternoon we decide to check out the pool for a change of pace, and there I noticed people drinking out of cozy covered beer cans! (Oh good grief!) So, I automatically figured that we would stay away from the pool – there was plenty of other stuff to do. Of course the very next day the kids wanted to go to the pool first thing in the morning, which I figured was just fine because who the hell would be drinking before noon!? Ummm, me, that’s who! But probably not at the pool, I would still be in my room, and probably sleeping off the night before! LOL!

The
The “party” pool.

Anyway, I was at the pool with the two older kids and they were pretty much entertaining themselves. And I sat there. Just sat there. Ugh. Bored. Antsy. Bored. Fidgety. Bored. What to do? There has to be something to do, I thought! I started texting friends. I checked Facebook, my email, my blog, read some blogs, and started a blog post. Then it hit me! This is my moment of peace and serenity and I am confusing it with boredom! Ugh. I closed my eyes and I forced myself for the next, however long it was, to just listen to the sounds around me and become still. Isn’t that funny, I had to force myself to do this?! But, I did it, and it was great, a bit uncomfortable in the beginning, but wonderfully relaxing!

So, after all the scoping I did the first two days, I was pretty comfortable to see that there were no crazy and wild parties there! Why do I always imagine that!? Too funny. And the kids did keep us busy, and there was no time to really think about this drinking stuff anymore. After all, it didn’t matter anyway, I was not going to be drinking! And… We found a coffee machine which dispensed FREE coffee and was available all day and all night – Oh, I was set!

It also helped that the people there were extremely friendly and laid back; so very different from the run-around like crazy hustle of the Washington, DC area. I also met a few moms while watching the kids at the beach. We had a good, laugh out loud conversation about dealing with our children and how funny, yet stressful parenting is! And guess what? They were not drinking either! Go figure!

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The two-year old is always chasing his big brother, blankly in hand and all.

Well, we had so much fun and did so many things, I am not sure who was more exhausted each night, us or the kids! And the best part was that I was there, aware and fully engaged and available at all times. I was living life and being a full participant in it! And although there were several stressful moments with the overly tired kids, I was able to remain calm and get through it without any major catastrophes, and have it all resolved as soon as possible. Woot woot!

I also want to share this really funny moment with you guys! I know that this would seem really silly to a normie, but I know you guys get it! So, one afternoon at the pool, while everyone was cracking their beers (that’s what I was imagining) and slipping them into their cozies to hide, I reached into my bag and pulled out a cold can of refreshingly crisp 7-up, cracked it open and proudly sat it on the table next to me, without having to cover it! Ha! Take that beer! LOL! I don’t have to hide anything! Woot woot! This was so funny to me, I felt like I was in one of those crazy soda commercial! LOL!

SO… In the end, I never missed the drinking, I noticed it, but never missed it, and that is really the greatest thing about being sober for a while! Everything gets easier and you no longer can imagine living the drunk existence that you used to call life, because you realize that your sober life has become so, so much better, and that you really don’t need alcohol to have fun!

Have you been on a sober vacation yet? How was it?


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21 Comments Add yours

  1. robertlfs says:

    Great story. What is also so cool is that as time goes on, I found there is less trepidation and paranoia about what might happen, which allows me not to have to burn energy on that stuff – so I can get right to the enjoyable part of the vacation.

    For my first sober vacation, I was fortunate to go to the Galapagos Islands. I was plenty worried about the drinking issue, assuming that everyone else would be drinking and partying all the time. Well in fact, the group of landlubber folks got enough alcohol into them that they all were seasick at night up topside, but I was down in my bunk sleeping like a baby . . . ready for the next AM to go swimming with the sea lions!

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    1. LOL! That’s a great story! And swimming with the sea lions!? WOW! Very cool!

      I love what you said “I found there is less trepidation and paranoia about what might happen.” That’s so very true, such a waste of time all this wondering and worrying! After all, at this point, it just doesn’t matter, though I think I would still be cautious (just a bit!). Some of my sober fiends recently went to Las Vegas and had a sober blast too! It can be done 🙂

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  2. One day at a time says:

    Good for you. That’s great to hear. I’m still to do my first sober vacation but I’m not dreading it so much any more – still concerned it might be boring though. I guess it’s a good idea to avoid party hot spots for a while.

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    1. Yeah, I had to avoid the party spots and I still think that I just don’t need the aggravation unless I have to be in a party atmosphere, I don’t willingly chose it!And the feeling of boredom is weird. How come drinking on the couch day after day didn’t seem boring? I wasn’t doing anything! LOL!
      But don’t forget, don’t confuse peace and serenity with boredom! And have fun and lots of it. Hugs!

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      1. One day at a time says:

        I think I can do peace and serenity 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “Noticed it, but didn’t miss it” Best part of this post! Welcome back, Maggie, so delighted to hear about your wonderful vacation! Heading to NYC for the 4th, and I hope that I notice it but don’t miss it as well 🙂

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    1. Hi Josie! Thank you! Yes, didn’t miss it, I kept thinking about all the stuff i would be able to do if i was drinking, because all I would be doing was drinking and being preoccupied with drinking – nope, do not miss that at all!

      That’s so exciting, NYC on the 4th! the have some great fireworks, but not us great as DC ones, right!? – i am a bit partial here! LOL. i hope you have an awesome time and maybe you get a post out of it – would love to hear how it went! Hugs!

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  4. It sounds like a wonderful vacation Maggie! I love how you recognized that you were confusing your chance for serenity with boredom. I totally relate to that. Your kids are super cute too!

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    1. Hi Karen! Thank you, it was great! Tiring, but a good kinda tired, not like a hungover, feel sick in your belly tired! Yes, that line stuck in my head, and it just popped right back in, because I often get bored when there is nothing that I am physically doing. But those times are so rare these days that I am really striving to acknowledged them when they happen. Even just a bit of this peaceful time energizes me back up 🙂

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  5. I totally understand!!! I’m also learning to relax,enjoy serenity. It’s hard.. I’m a bit nervous. We are leaving to camp at myrtle beach meeting stepdaughters. Major drinking on our past trips. I don’t like myrtle beach. Kind of dreading it. Need to pack my sober tools. Happy for you that you had a great time. Flaunt that 7- up girl!!!! 🙂

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    1. Lol! Thanks! I am gonna flaunt that and my dcoke and coffee too!
      Hang in there, yes gather your tools, and stay connected. And I know you are dreading it but it’s all on the attitude too. Think positive and positive things will happen- so pick a few things that can make this a positive experience and have fun! Hugs!

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  6. I’ve been fortunate to hit a few vacations since getting sober and it’s easier and easier in terms of thinking about it but not thinking about it…lol. I do still notice the booze, but it’s almost in an observational kind of way, not a lingering way. I certainly would think to myself on our last cruise “why didn’t I go to these all inclusive things when I was drinking?” and then followed it up with “dude, you drank as much as you wanted when you wanted almost every single day for most of your life”. Ugh. Got me on that one.

    anyway, so glad you unwound and found your serenity, my friend. sounds like it was a lot of fun!

    Welcome back 🙂

    Paul

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    1. Hi Paul! Thank you, it’s good to be back in my own bed!

      And that so funny about the all inclusive vaca, I thought the same – all you can drink? Wait I always drank all I could drink! Lol!

      The noticing drinkong is kinda funny, I really seem to have a radar, I can usually smell it before I see it too! Crazy. The cool part is that I don’t seem to have cravings anymore, it’s more like the it’s just all in my head! – stupid head! Lol!

      Thanks Paul, hope you’re doing well! Hugs!

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  7. A lovely read Maggie and, as always, so inspiring. Here’s the quote from your post that I shall take with me on my first sober holiday (due in a couple of weeks!); “And the best part was that I was there, aware and fully engaged and available at all times. I was living life and being a full participant in it!”. Welcome home x.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that’s awesome, I hope you have a great time on your vaca, stay connected and positive. And let us know how it went!

      And yes, it’s so great to be aware and a full participant in life. When I think about sitting on my couch drinking night after night and just existing, I have a hard time believing that I lived like that. Life is so full now. There are so many new things I got to experience in sobriety, it’s overwhelming!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hurry up and relax ; that is what the start of vacation tends to start like. Putting away the electronics can be a challenge. But remember, it doesn’t even compare the work you did before to make sure you had enough alcohol available on your vacation.
    Glad you were able to enjoy the seashore with your family!

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    1. Right!? Hurry up and relax!! Love it! Oh, one day, I will, I am getting there!

      You’re right about all that work it took to drink and try to function in some way. And it was just constant. I sure don’t miss that! And I sure didn’t miss the electronic after a while. And I was able to pay more attention to the kids and have a really good time!

      Thanks for stopping by. Hugs.

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  9. Hi Maggie, it was good for me to read your tale this morning 🙂 We’re currently planning a vacation and I’m feeling pretty nervous about it! Your post does indeed give me some sober courage 😉

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    1. Oh, thank you, that’s awesome!! It sure beats liquid courage! Lol! I hope you have a great vaca. I think the big battle is always in my head. Really is different, whether I am thinking that drinking would be fun- in reality I has been long time since it was any fun for me, or I am thinking that sobriety is boring- and in reality, I have done more things in sobriety that were way more fun than any drinking event!

      In the end, I just keep reminding myself that I am not going to drink anyway!

      And don’t forget to have fun! Hugs!

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  10. poetsanswine says:

    I used to go to Atlantic Beach as a girl with my mother. She never drank. We just laughed a lot and ate fried shrimp! That’s what I want my girls to remember too…

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    1. Hi there! That sounds like a great memory, and your girls are so lucky to have you take them! As they say, these are the good old days! I hope you have a wonderful time! Hugs.

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