It’s the last night of my first sober vacation in about 20 years. We booked this week in the red rocks of Arizona a few weeks before I joined Team 100, and in my first days of sobriety it was absolutely unimaginable that I wouldn’t be drinking again by now, since my 100 days of sobriety would have magically taught me to be a moderate drinker with no alcohol issues whatsoever (insert eye roll from my 131 days older and wiser self).
Then, as my sobriety solidified and the trip approached, I realized I was excited about the idea of a sober vacation. No hangovers, not even low-grade ones. No wine dehydration to compound the plane trip and the dry climate. No fuzzily wasted evenings. More time and focus to read, which to me is kind of the whole point of a vacation anyway. I even worried that I was setting my expectations too high and would have a rude awakening.
Well, I’m happy to report that my expectations were not that out of whack after all. Yes, there were a few moments when it felt weird to go against my long-ingrained vacation habits and not have a drink. And the fact that even a fancy spa resort like this one doesn’t have creative mocktails on offer still peeves me to a sightly disturbing degree. And riding the wave of existential dread I always seem to get on the last day of a trip was rougher without a glass of wine to numb me out. But otherwise, being sober ranged from no big deal to a total delight. I woke up clear-headed and rested. I lay around by the pool and read (Louise Erdrich’s THE ROUND HOUSE and Donna Tartt’s THE GOLDFINCH, if you’re curious). I ran (not so easy at 4500 feet when you live at sea level!) and did yoga and cracked up over stuff with my husband. I hiked miles through the canyons of Sedona, where I saw mule deer and javelinas and bunnies and even–be still my heart–a bear, who fortunately did not see me back. It was a full-feeling vacation–I had time to be a slug and to get out and do stuff, because I wasn’t sapping my energy with booze every night and having to dig myself out in the mornings. All in all, it was pretty awesome and I’m eager to take another sober vacation soon. Like, as soon as possible.