Alright, so we just got back (one hour ago to be exact) from the Alaskan cruise we went on to celebrate our Grandma's 80th birthday. Let me tell you, I definitely have some thoughts about cruises, especially cruises when you are newly sober. Was it an amazing trip spending time with my family and seeing beautiful sites? Of course. Would I recommend it to anyone in the beginning stages of sobriety, or even in any stage throughout their journey? Definitely not. Cruises are basically giant parties on a ship in the middle of the ocean, where people figure they have nothing else to do but drink and drink because what could they possibly have to worry about? It is a vacation, a time to relax away from work, a time where your only worry is if you should eat breakfast before you go lounge in the jacuzzi or if that is cutting it too close to when you will be eating at the buffet lunch. Meanwhile, the staff on board is cleaning up our messes and waiting on us hand and foot. The experience definitely put it in perspective for me how happy I am that I did not go on that cruise when me and #1 were still drinking excessively. We would have been sneaking out to the bars after the rest of our family went to bed and showing up hungover to breakfasts with Grandma. We would have been disengaged and just consumed with thoughts about when our next drink could be and when we could get time away from everyone else to talk about our game plan. Yuck. That is the horrible version of myself I do not miss, (but she still haunts me in my dreams that is for sure). We are extremely blessed to have a full extended family that hardly drinks, so alcohol was not even an option for us the entire trip. But I still did feel very out of place. Alcohol is a big source of revenue for these monstrous cruise ships and when you decline the wine menu every night at dinner you start to feel like they're rolling their eyes when they turn around. My alcohol senses felt like they were on heightened alert. I would notice every bottle of wine being opened at a table and at breakfast, everyone walking around with mimosas or bloody Mary's. I don't think this is because I was wishing I could join in, but I think I was noticing how being sober in an environment like this is the minority. I don't think I could ever go on a cruise with people who do drink because it is so central to every meal and activity that I think I would feel too uncomfortable. Who knows how I will feel about that in a few years, but for now I know I need to really watch what situations I put myself in. I do not think that I would be tempted and give in to drinking. What I do think is that I will start realizing how different I am when I am sober and I will feel insecure and shy and want to just go crawl into bed. That is a feeling I would rather not feel if I can help it. I don't think I will always feel that way, but right now I need to listen to what my mind is telling me and keep feeding my soul with uplifting fuel.
It was so nice to spend time with my family for so long. #1 and I have another sister that is in between us in age. She is married so we do not get to spend a lot of one on one time with her anymore. Her husband was not able to come on the trip because of work and so I felt like we got her completely to ourselves for a week and it was really great. There are four of us total and we always turn into the most ridiculous giggle monsters when we are all together, reminding me of our childhood. I absolutely love it. It was really refreshing to be away and out in some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Nature truly has a healing power. I felt so at peace being out on the water, watching the sunset over our deck, and waking up to glaciers outside our window. God is amazing. I really needed that. I had a bit of a breakdown last week because I worked three straight night shifts in a row then had to drive an hour home and go to a Dr. appointment and I had probably slept a total of 9 hours in the past 72. I was driving home and just started sobbing for no reason whatsoever. I was feeling depleted and like I'm working myself to the bone just to make money that I have to fork over for all my debt I'm in. I needed a trip like this. To remind me of the beauty that is out there, the feeling of peace and adventure that I love so much when I am outdoors, and that everything really is going to be okay. We are back now and I am not entirely ready to get back to the work grind, but I do feel rejuvenated. I'm ready to tackle what is ahead of me in these next months. And now I know not to register for any cruises in my near future :) We made it through a hard little bump in the road sissy!! I am proud of us. Let's keep pushing.