My First Sober Summer
My dramatic title seemed absurd to type, but besides my stint as a kid and pre-teen, alcohol always played a huge role in my summers.
But that’s normal, right? I mean, hanging with your friends at the pool, parties, trips, beach days, and on and on. Alcohol is basically ALWAYS present.
Ever wonder why that’s so normal? Or so necessary?
I didn’t. Not before I quit drinking or even when I wanted a break from drinking. I wasn’t asking those questions yet because our cultural life is so entrenched in the after-work beer or just-put-the-kids-down wine. That isn’t alcoholism, it’s normal! And I was part of the normal.
But not anymore. Nearly eight months into my sobriety and I’m still learning how to live life without booze — not because I want/miss it — but because it’s always been a part of my life.
Navigating this summer has been interesting. A few things I noticed, I took me a minute (or a billion) to feel confident in my bathing suit without a buzz, sitting on the beach for several hours is NOT easy for me, bubbly water is my best friend, and not feeling like &$%# after a day at the beach ROCKS.
My current home resides in a coastal city with the beach being a mere 15 minutes away, so it’s a weekly jaunt during the summer.
Last year, C and I spent every Saturday at the beach. We brought tons of snacks (mainly delicious, fatty garbage), filled our cooler full of beers (for him) and vodka (for me #celiac), set up camp, drank and swam all day, came home around six, showered, and abruptly passed out.
Translation: We traded our Saturday evenings for drinking on the beach.
This year, things are different. The snacks are healthier — fresh fruits replaced bags of chips and peanut butter M&M’s, our cooler is full of bubbly water and a beer or two (for him), and the evenings are spent doing something fun.
It’s crazy because I keep learning the same lesson — instead of making my life better, alcohol stole it from me. Almost EVERY Saturday last summer was spent passed out super early, and Saturdays were my only day off! Think of all the time I threw away…
Another revelation — drinking always made me feel shameful. For the time wasted, workouts missed, headaches endured, crankiness exuded, puffy eyes and icky skin, lack of sleep, etc, etc. Shameful, shameful… Oof, I don’t miss that at all!
And sure, I was tempted to drink during the first beach trip this year. Some friends and I were celebrating a birthday on a remote island — who wouldn’t? They sipped fruity drinks and my bubbly water seemed bland... But as the day wore on and they became heavy and sluggish from the booze, I stayed energized and awake. The justification was evident.
I can enjoy my friends and family, discovering seashells, and jumping waves without the booze annnnnd then I come home and feel great afterward! WINNING.
And that’s what I’m ALL about these days — chasing the “feeling great” things in my life — people, activities, food, hobbies, work, etc. It’s about creating a life I don’t want to check out of and developing the tools to deal with tough things from a healthy standpoint.
For me, alcohol was a way to check out. It allowed me to be someone I’m not, enjoy things I don’t, made time go by faster (please Lord, tell me why I EVER wanted that), or made things easier to deal with. It was the “easy” solution.
But that’s not good enough for me anymore. I want the real stuff — all of it.
This summer, I choose to sport my body in a bikini (eek), surround myself with my and C’s family (double eek), and relax the majority of the day (triple eek) — SOBER.
Guess you could say, I’m really getting into this living life on the wild side stuff :P