Destination…Recovery. Next stop…New Freedom.
For as long as I can remember, nothing beat the excitement of taking a vacation. That time away meant not only taking a break from work but also being able to blow off steam and decompress. The anticipation of getting ready for indulging in my favorite drinks in a tropical or exotic location and the excitement of partying without any stress of having to work the next day was invigorating. I do not recall having packed for a trip without first having my usual ritual of pouring a martini to “kick things off”. All trips involved alcohol for almost every excursion or event whether it be social or professional. At the time, I could not imagine how a vacation could be enjoyable without having a buzz or being inebriated.
Fast forward to my place in life now where I am five years in recovery and elated to be in the care of NCCDP. My recovery is on solid foundation and growing stronger every day so I finally decided to take a two-week vacation to India with my family. Sure, I took long weekend vacations all the time but that involved 2-3 days away. This was literally the first trip I have taken since High School where alcohol was not involved in any way. It is hard to explain the magnitude of difference in the experience being sober as opposed to vacations I took in the past inebriated but here are just a few observations.
Coffee lattes in the mornings replaced the usual bloody marys and it is absurd how much better that experience was! The endorphins of wanting that first drink was replaced by the endorphins of a beautiful restful sleep being awoken by the sounds of nature and sweet smell of coffee grinds. The joy of having complete memory of events and not having any anxiety of what may or may not have transpired the night before or if I embarrassed myself or anybody else. In the past, I would primarily bar hop and time would just slip away and my best laid plans would go to waste. Additionally, I would need to look at pictures taken to remember the details but not anymore. In my recent trip, I truly felt the joy and satisfaction of learning and embracing a culture and enjoyed every aspect of my vacation in a far more profound way than I ever had. It was astonishing and the intensity of every experience was a huge surprise. Laughs with friends and family resonated differently. Food tasted better. The fact that I remembered every detail of every conversation and could recall details of every place we visited was an absolute joy.
I am truly grateful to have had this experience in recovery. Most of my vacations in the past would require that I needed a “vacation from the vacation” because I was so tired and foggy. I have now learned how magnificent a travel experience can be with a sober heart and mind. It truly felt like food and nourishment for the soul. I am filled with gratitude for the NCCDP and others that have helped me realize how fruitful life experiences can now be on the solid foundation of recovery.
…from a happy dentist in recovery…