Whether you’re a student, a parent, or just taking a break from alcohol for Lent, for your health, or as part of The Alcohol Experiment – a sober spring break can seem daunting. After a year that has made drinking anytime and anywhere acceptable now that we’re all on quarantine time, the idea of remaining alcohol-free over spring break or any holiday time feels out of place. What can you do to still have fun? Won’t you stand out? Be judged? Annie Grace has been there and done that. Now she’s bringing you her 7 best tips for how to have a sober spring break!
Get your head in the right place
How you approach the idea of an alcohol-free spring holiday will be the single greatest factor in the way it actually goes. Your mindset matters! I’m not saying you need to go in with a false cheeriness that everything is just going to be perfect and you’re going to have fun the entire time. That isn’t realistic no matter how you’re going to be spending your time. What I do mean is that if you go into this experience expecting to be miserable, bored, and feeling out of place the entire time – that is exactly what you can expect will happen. Instead, let go of expectations. Go in thinking, “I’m just going to sit back and see what happens. How do I feel? How am I behaving? What am I noticing?” Curiosity without judgment allows us to really be observant and experience things for what they are.
Prepare a plan
One of the reasons we fear a sober spring break is that being alcohol-free on holiday is new. Many of us haven’t experienced that since our childhoods. New things seem scary and feel awkward at first. So if we approach being alcohol-free during spring break without a plan not only will it feel weird but it likely will be boring because we’ve always filled that time with just one activity – drinking. You now have the freedom and opportunity to do all the things that drinking kept you from doing. Make a list and start planning! Fancy a sunrise horseback ride in the sand during your beach vacation? Book it! You’re not going to be hungover so YOU CAN DO IT!! By that same token – plan what you will be drinking – bring along your own alcohol-free drinks and peruse menus before going out to eat. Knowing what you’re going to order beforehand eliminates the temptation to order a drink. You can also request that the hotel remove the mini-bar before you check in to your room.
Having your list of reasons why you’re taking on a sober spring break and keeping the benefits of it in the forefront of your mind can be such a boost to your psyche. Arm yourself with that knowledge. Create a keychain or bracelet with your “whys.” Bring along quit lit books, download podcasts, and make sure you’ve joined support groups that can have your back if you feel tempted during the trip. Consider this step your “travel insurance!” No one likes being left stranded.
Start Reading This for a Sober Spring Break
This Naked Mind can be a great travel buddy! In fact, you can download the first chapter of the book right now and start reading it instantly!
Awareness can make such a difference when it comes to both our feelings and our actions. In fact, the whole reason most of us end up taking a look at our relationship with alcohol is because our drinking became mindless. Something we did automatically without considering how it made us feel or behave. Now you get to tune in and find out what things make you happy, what fills your bucket, and what you find draining. That might lead to some discoveries about the things you do and the people you associate with. Don’t fear becoming an authentic version of yourself. There’s only one you and that is beautiful!
Don’t Make It About You
Drinking tends to make even the purest of souls very selfish. Look no further than most spring break trips for proof of that. They are all about us. How much we can drink, how much we can party, and how much of our dignity we can leave behind on that trip. It doesn’t have to be that way. Whether it’s a break from school, a family vacation, or a personal getaway, you can make your sojourn selfless. Our greatest and most rewarding acts come from doing things for others so if you need a respite that truly restores you – spend this break helping others. From animal sanctuaries to youth organizations and everything in between, you can find a place that could use your hands, your smile, and your newfound energy to help those in need. Volunteer vacations are always the most unforgettable ones!
Or Make It All About You
The flip side to a selfless sober spring break is to be selflessly selfish. That’s right – make every moment of this break about bettering yourself and doing what you need to replenish yourself. Take this time to practice yoga and meditation, learn to cook, find the hobbies that interest you, connect with nature, or discover a new passion for hiking or a sport. There is no shame in investing in ourselves and our health. If you have the time off to do that make the most of it and take advantage. Once you begin feeling the physical and mental benefits of truly caring for your body the thought of drinking becomes less and less attractive.
There’s Only One First Time For A Sober Spring Break
The greatest takeaway here is that there’s only one first time for everything. Once you get through a sober spring break or holiday there won’t be the awkwardness of the first time again. You’ll have experience and real true data under your belt. So the idea of a weekend getaway, a tropical vacation, or any other excursion will no longer fill you with fear. Instead, you’ll have added some value to that “travel insurance” package you started before your first trip. Every first we experience alcohol-free is such an important and valuable step in reshaping our beliefs, desires, and experiences around alcohol.