In the span of 11 months, there have been a lot of “sober firsts.” The first sober rock concert, first sober Christmas, first sober wedding, and so on. Next week will be my first sober vacation. To be clear, I’ve had to be sober on past vacations because my drinking during the final 5 years was done in secrecy and secret drinking is not easy on vacation! Picture a week in Las Vegas spent this way… not easy.
This will be, however, my first vacation while in sobriety. My folks migrate to Florida for a couple of the worst of the winter months each year. For me: it’s a cheap vacation for a week, whenever I can swing it.
My sober foundation is solid, which means I’m not going into this vacation with anxiety. That said, there will be booze everywhere. My parents stay in a condo community with 8 other couples composed of family and friends, and these snowbirds drink a lot. Every pool visit, baseball game, dinner and evening get-together puts booze front and centre.
So I have a Florida Plan. It’s part journaling, part texting my sponsor, part reflection and a whole lot of being willing to change my environment if I get uncomfortable. When my aunt panics because her grandchild quickly grabs a bottle of water and it might be the one filled with vodka, I may just need to take a swim. Or when the 4th well-meaning-but-still-a-little-creepy-60-something-year-old-man offers me a drink, coaxing with “come on, you’re on vacation!”, I may just have to decline and join a different conversation.
Overall, I’m simply looking forward to a week in the sun. I’m looking forward to reflecting at the end of week and feeling proud and content for staying in the moment and enjoying every day.