At this time of year, I often hear from people who’re worried that a sober holiday means missing out.
They can’t imagine skipping cocktails by the pool or saying no to wine with their evening meal. Sampling the local booze is all part of the ‘cultural experience’, right?
When you’re feeling this way, it’s easy to talk yourself into giving up on your sober goals.
I totally understand this fear of feeling deprived. No one wants to feel as if they’re having less fun than everyone else, do they?
That’s why I’ve written this blog. I have a totally different perspective on ‘missing out’ that will help you look at things in a different light…
Understand that everyone is ‘missing out’ – all the time!
Have you heard of the invisible gorilla? In a study, participants were asked to watch this video of people playing basketball. They had to count the number of passes made by people on one of the teams. In the middle of the video, a gorilla strolls across the screen, faces the camera and thumps its chest.
If you were watching, would you spot the gorilla? Most of us think ‘yeah, of course I would!’ And yet a Harvard study found that half the viewers didn’t see it. They were so focused on watching the players and counting the passes, they noticed nothing else.
So what’s this got to do with sobriety?
The point is, we only ever absorb a tiny fraction of what’s going on around us. We miss stuff all the time. When we’re on holiday we’re bombarded with new sights, new culture, food, beaches, architecture and often a different language. No matter how hard you try, you will come home having only experienced a tiny part of it. We simply cannot take everything in.
This means that everyone – sober or not – is ‘missing out’ on something.
No one can ever have a ‘full’ or ‘complete’ experience of anything. It’s just not possible. Once we understand this concept, our focus can shift from “Am I going to miss out?” to “Ok, what is it I’m happy to miss out on?” And this brings me on to my next point.
Decide what you do want to make space for
When you choose to experience less of one thing (e.g. alcohol) you create more room for other experiences. If you think about everything you want from your next trip and imagine squeezing it all into one suitcase, is there room for alcohol in there too?
Here’s what I know about booze: it takes up waaay more space than you think. It’s very greedy. As soon as you start drinking, your lovely holiday is no longer savoured or truly appreciated. Instead, you’re obsessing about when you’ll drink next. What will you have? Where? How much? You’re constantly battling with yourself.
When you’re drinking, you become the person who misses the gorilla.
You’re so focused on booze, everything else gets squeezed out. The quality time you wanted to have with your loved ones? You miss out on that because you’re numb and not fully present. The lovely restaurant that serves great food but doesn’t offer booze? You don’t bother going. The tourist trips you were excited about? You struggle through them, hungover. That rested, recharged feeling you craved? It’s vanished.
You deserve better than this, right?
If you’ve not experienced a sober holiday before, isn’t it about time you tried one? Change the script this year and stop missing out on the kind of break you deserve. I’ve written before about why sober holidays are THE cheapest and best upgrade you’ll ever get – you can read that here.
If you’d like some help to stop drinking and create an alcohol-free life you love, click here for details of my online course.
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(It’ll help keep you on track tonight)