I recently returned from a lush vacay in Cabo – my VERY FIRST experience at an all-inclusive resort. We spent 3 nights/4 days in paradise for our friends’ wedding, which was absolutely perfect and gorgeous.
We had a wonderful time, but one thing I always do on trips is play this mantra of vacation-remorse – I should’ve packed this, I should’ve worn that, I wish we visited this place. It’s truly a nuisance and so easy for me to get hung up on it, causing undue anxiety and hampering my ability to truly just chill out.
Since I’ve stopped drinking, I am definitely more aware of these little habits or ticks of mine – though they still occur, I find them a little easier to cope with, to let go, to “trust the process.” And, just like in my everyday life, whenever I find myself in my own self-made brain tornado, I stopped, put my feet on the ground, and remind myself “but you’re still not drinking.” Above all, no matter how “bad” a situation can be (and 9 times out of 10, it isn’t even bad – I’m just really, really good at creating imaginative, doomsday-esque scenarios), it would have been 7 million times worse if I were still drinking.
Here are a few “vacay regrets” I had on this trip (“now”), versus ones I have had/would have had if I were drunk the entire time (“then”):
Now: “God I ate too much. But those virgin frozen margs though…delicious.”
Then: “God I drank too much… and all that food on top of it! How many calories are in a frozen margarita? Fuck.. just vodka sodas from here on out.”
Now: “I wish I brought my bathing suit when we ventured into the city, I didn’t realize we could swim at the beach!”
Then: “I wish we were back at the resort where all my alcohol is already paid for, $4 for this weak ass mojito sucks. Also, I wish I didn’t eat so much last night.. maybe then I’d feel OK enough to wear my bikini and check out the beach. I feel hungover, what a wasted day in the city. It’s fucking hot.”
Now: “Dammit, I forgot to dye my hair and tweeze my eyebrows before the trip. I’m going to look like a caveman at this wedding. I probably should pay better attention when I make my to-do lists.. Why can’t I just get my shit together? Now we HAVE to go into the city so I can get tweezers. ”
Then: “Dammit, I forgot I was going to stop at 3 drinks last night, now my face is all bloated and gross. I probably shouldn’t drink so much.. Why can’t I just get my shit together? ..Oh well, I HAVE to drink at the wedding tonight. I can think about this later.”
Now: ::dancing at wedding:: “Everyone is staring at me everyone is staring at me everyone is staring at me::
Then: “The world is my oyster, a disco oyster where I should dance as ridiculous and provocatively as possible. With everyone’s husband.”
Now: “Shoot, my nail got caught on my dress and now it’s got a run in it. Why am I so clumsy?”
Then: “Cigarette burn? I don’t even remember smoking. Do I know how to fix burns in dresses? This really sucks, I only wore it once! Also, where are my shoes?”
Now: “Am I lame that I am in bed so early? Does Steve think I’m a loser?”
Then: “I wished I had called it an early night. Now me and Steve are fighting and I don’t even remember what for.”
Now: ::side eyeing while dancing:: “Wow I really hope no one steps on that broken glass on the dance floor.”
Then: “LET ME THROUGH, I’LL PICK UP BROKEN GLASS, OH AM I BLEEDING? DON’T WORRY, I’M A NURSE.”
Now: “Did everyone think I was weird? Especially that one guy who I actually told I was ‘sober’? Who am I?”
Then: “Did everyone think I was weird? Especially that one girl who I kept telling she was sooo beautiful and acted like her new best friend.. I was pathetic. Who am I?”
So yeah, anxiety is real in my life. My brain is an almost non-stop recording of everything that could or is actually “going wrong,” and I am working on my awareness in that regard. But each and every day – every second, I am filled with gratitude that I am in recovery. Not contemplating it, not postponing it, just in it to win it. I am anxious, but I am also present, grateful, fulfilled, balanced, true to myself (kind of an introvert?! what?!), and of healthy-ish mind and body. There are no added layers of unneeded ooey gooey drinking-anxiety, seeping down into all my other life issues and making them a thousand times harder to clean up. Just my clean-cut, run of the mill, neatly stacked, easy-to-clean, set-it-and-forget-it issues, that I would take any day over drinking.