I can’t believe it! It didn’t occur to me until after the kids left, but I never once felt the need to drink during our vacation together. In dropping alcohol from my life, the ability to party with our kids now that they are adults was the one thing that I thought I’d really miss out on.
I was hung up on this because of the many fond memories I had spending time drinking with my parents. It was so fun to go to the bars, listen to music, have mimosas at brunch, or drink beer around the campfire up north. A version of me was so looking forward to doing the same with our kids – Bloody Mary’s on Xmas morning, beers at a basketball game or cocktail cruises on our boat were all fantasies I’ve had of ways we would connect. I assumed it was all about the alcohol and bonding over our beers.
It’s been a little over two years since I quit drinking, and the most amazing thing just happened. My husband and I rented a place in the Bahamas and had all of our kids come out for spring break. We piled the shopping cart high with Kaliks (Bahamian beer), Truly’s, rum and all the fixings for daiquiris. The kids, each in their early to mid 20’s, were all about partying on the beach with us. Let’s just say, they don’t share my outlook on alcohol. They drank plenty! We hung out chatting, played frisbee and football, went snorkeling, played cards, and listened to all their playlists. They drank their Kaliks and I drank my NA’s.
Here’s what’s so cool; because of all of the work I’ve done to change my mindset around drinking, I totally forgot about my worries! It can be a thing, to be the only one not drinking, and it can be uncomfortable. It’s similar to being the only person at a birthday party not eating cake. It can create discomfort for both those eating and not eating the celebratory food. Although I cannot control how others feel, I have the power to control my own thoughts and emotions, so I let go of that discomfort. It probably helps that it doesn’t bother me in the least to be around alcohol, as I have no desire to drink. I had everything I wanted without actually drinking with them, and I felt included in everything we did together. No party pooper feeling.
Why do I, and society in general, give so much power to alcohol? Marketing and societal norms have perpetuated such a strong belief that drinking is necessary for fun (for everything really), that I could have missed this opportunity, focusing on my woes. Before this trip, my suffering came from my belief that it’s the alcohol that would create the connection I wanted with my kids, that alcohol is responsible for my fun. But, what’s not fun about being on a beautiful beach, fun games and all the people I love hanging out together listening to music?
As part of the process of becoming alcohol free, I looked at what I thought drinking did for me. It had been the tool I thought I needed to be or to have fun. As my mindset shifts, I’ve been finding that many of the things I used to enjoy only while drinking are actually just as enjoyable, if not more so, without alcohol. When you consider the entirety of the experience, not just the temporary high of a perfect buzz, there are so many benefits. I can drive home safely, remember the entire evening, wake up feeling proud of myself for not drinking more than I wanted to or saying things I shouldn’t have, and of course, enjoy feeling great the next day.
One of the first things I did on this alcohol-free journey was to be curious about what is fun for me, what brings me joy, and per this experience, I’d say it has paid off. Being present to what is happening
“now” instead of assuming how it’s going to be based on my past experiences, thoughts, and beliefs, is a game changer. I’m not gonna lie, as my kids would say, it has taken work to challenge my beliefs around alcohol. But, the freedom and peace that I feel, and the fun that has come from it have been so worth it!
Are you sober curious, questioning how alcohol fits into your life? Schedule a free call and discover how Tracy helps people improve their relationship with alcohol and overcome the mindsets that influence drinking.