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How to Vacation Dry

I just got back from a fantastic trip to Hawaii and I’m feeling refreshed and ready to get back at it. This is a trip I’ve taken before; I visited the same island, stayed at the same hotel, and I did mostly the same activities. The only difference is this time, I did it dry. I was genuinely concerned that repeating this trip would trigger a desire to drink. The last time I did this trip, it was peppered with tiki drinks, piña coladas and après-surf beers. What would I do after a surf session that didn’t involve a drink? Let me share how I did my dry vacation:

  1. Preparation: I’m learning that my desire to hit the bar after a fun activity has very little to do with drinking, and more to do with socializing and sharing my experience. Nobody wants to see a shark while snorkeling and not have someone to tell afterwards, (this really happened, here’s a picture to prove it)! So, I started my preparation by looking for local spots with AF menus. Frankly, I was disappointed when my search came up light. So, I took to Google and I found a few distributors of AF brands who serviced the area. This allowed me to ask for specific brands when I was perusing a menu. I was pleasantly surprised to find that those brands were available more often than not, even if they weren’t ‘advertised’.

2. Be Curious: I’m always down to ask for an AF option when I’m at home, so I decided that wouldn’t change while I was on vacation. I was able to have open conversations with servers and bartenders about what AF options were available, and some even opened up about their desire to offer more. Many bars and restaurants are still experiencing COVID-related financial constraints, and it came up a few times that their AF menus had been the first to cut. This allowed for an open conversation about the growing sober curious community, and who knows, it may even help the staff I spoke with pass along the desire to bring back zero-proof options. I also emailed a few local shops asking if they had any NA beer or wines to stock my hotel room. Unfortunately, the answer was no, but again, I was able to have an open conversation about why I was asking.

3. Enjoy the Freedom: The best part of my dry year is being hangover free. This trip proved again that time is my most valuable non-renewable resource, so I spent all of it having fun. The money I’ve saved on being booze free was also able to go towards this trip, meaning I had both more time and cash to fill my sun-drenched days. I didn’t go crazy with a daily itinerary, but I did make sure that I had a plan to make the best use of my time. I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted to do it, without the constraints that alcohol held on past vacations.

My spouse and I have traveled many places over the years, and we’ve had incredible experiences. However, we both agree that this vacation was extra special because we were fully present. We loved our booze-free vacation so much that we decided to do it again in a few months. Thanks to my dry year for allowing me to make the best use of my vacation time making memories.

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