I spent last week on a beach vacation with my family. We’ve been going to Pensacola Beach ever since my husband trained there one NFL off-season and so many of our trips there prominently featured the boardwalk frozen margarita bar behind me in this picture.
I’d drink multiple 32 oz frozen margaritas with Grand Mariner floaters. I mean, I was “on vacation” or it was “the last day of vacation” or “it's sunny!” No justification went unused.
I’d wake up each morning of our trip feeling less than stellar and end up starting the drinking process all over again at breakfast (mimosa anyone?) in an effort to remedy my hangover. And you can’t drink all day on vacation if you don’t start in the morning, am I right?
Last week marked the first vacation that I’ve been on since becoming #sobercurious (becoming more aware of my drinking and trying to develop a healthier relationship with alcohol -for me, by drinking less).
I love how amazing my body feels when I abstain from alcohol.
But, I’m still drinking it.
I’ll savor a glass of wine, mid-afternoon (and with pasta. . . or steak . . .or Milk Duds). I require (yes, require) an IPA with chicken wings or Mexican food. Meals-pairings are an entire experience for me. And hell, I’ve built a brand around drinking cocktails in moderation!
Admittedly, during the past couple of years, I’ve gotten away from moderation. After a particularly non-moderated night of margaritas at a friend’s birthday in January, I made a commitment to drastically reduce my alcohol intake, but ended up shaming myself for not being able to cut it out as much as I’d hoped.
Although I’m drinking much less these days (after reading This Naked Mind by Annie Grace -twice), I’m far from sober- which, in my mind, is perfect discipline.
Last week in Pensacola, I coached myself up, daily, committed to only have a cocktail or two in the evenings. Then, one day, I found myself typing this blog, poolside, margarita in hand, in the middle of the day.
But on this day, instead of feeling shame for drinking more than I’d planned to, I chose to focus on what this vacation wasn’t.
It wasn’t sobriety (not even close) but it also wasn’t . . .
mindless binge drinking
Jell-O shots in my beach cooler.
32 oz frozen margaritas with Grand Mariner floaters
For me, a typical beach vacation would have included all of the above. This beach vacation was awareness. It was giving myself grace.
It’s about progress, not perfection. And honestly, I’m not sure that the zero-alcohol “perfection” of sobriety that I've been striving for is even for me. But I made a conscious decision to be more aware of my drinking and my patterns and was able to stick to that in an environment where I typically wouldn’t have been able to.
It’s progress. And this time, I choose to recognize what I was able to accomplish instead of feeling guilt and shame for what I wasn’t.