No Judgements

My family and I just got back from our Spring Break vacation to Marco Island, Florida. It was amazing! Beautiful! We stayed at an incredible resort, using my husband’s hotel rewards points. We swam in the pools, splashed in the ocean, visited the Everglades, went sailing and shelling; we had a blast!

Before leaving for the trip, I told Rob, my husband, that over the course of the week I wanted “no judgments” when it came to whether I elected to drink or not. This vacation had been a long time in coming—over two years. I wanted the freedom to enjoy it however way I felt.

Because I didn’t firmly tell myself, “No, I will not order alcohol,” I of course imbibed. The first day, Rob turned to me before meandering up to the tiki bar, “Want anything?” I’d seen the drink menu and all but memorized the tropical concoctions. I found myself responding, “Surprise me.” He knew I meant an alcoholic beverage. To his credit, he didn’t “judge” my answer; he left to fulfill my request. He came back with a drink called the “Miami Vice.” All sorts of fruit juices and a good helping of rum. It was… delicious. The pineapple wedge hugging the rim. The long toothpick stabbing the bright, red cherries. The sugary coldness as I sipped through a tall straw. I had one more drink at dinner this night, then called it good.

But.

Because I’d given myself permission to now drink on the trip, I drank every day. I didn’t get drunk, didn’t really even feel a buzz. There was no slamming of 5 or 6 drinks in a day. I stayed in the safe margin of 2 – 4; which compared to vacations past, was definitely a marked improvement. But I didn’t experience one day of my island getaway without feeling the need to “add to it” with a cocktail.

I have mixed feelings on this. The moderators of the world would probably say, “See! You can do this! You went on a VACATION, and you didn’t even get tipsy!” There’s a part of me that agrees. I tell myself that I didn’t drink in the mornings, didn’t order mimosas or Bloody Mary’s, didn’t sit around an outdoor bar all day. I had one—at the most two—tropical cocktails by the pool or at the beach in the afternoon, then one—at the most two—drinks in the evening. I went to bed and got up in the morning feeling just fine.

But the other part of me sees what this did to my mindset, and it is this that gets me worried. Because I made it work on vacation, I took this nugget of info and stored it in my brain so that when I got home, I more easily reached for a glass of wine while I was unpacking our luggage on Sunday. A couple of weeks ago, I was really put off by the idea of drinking on a day before I had to go to work. Now, I didn’t let it phase me. That is, until I fell asleep that night. When I woke up around—yep, 3:00 AM—I didn’t wake to a hangover, but to the nagging thought that I was skating on thin ice.

I determined right then and there that I would not drink again until the following weekend.

I made it three nights.

When I got a call yesterday from my daughter’s school that she was showing signs of Covid and needed to be immediately picked up (and not come back until she tested negative), I knew in the back of my mind that this spelled trouble in more ways than one. Thankfully my daughter’s rapid test went in our favor and she ended up with only a diagnosis of a mild ear infection and constipation. But I still felt the need to “de-stress” later with a glass of wine.

And there it is, the mindset that alcohol helps me to relax—which I know from all my reading, is not the case. It’s the opposite. I think I need to go back to my FB groups, do more reading, become more involved again with the sober community. Too much time winging it on my own is destined to see me plummet to the ground.

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