If you are reading this and live in Michigan, you'll get what I am saying. I just got an email from someone that obviously doesn't live here because in closing it said, “Enjoy this beautiful spring day.” She must be far away because it is raining, windy and 49 degrees. Ok, enough weather complaining. But you know I wouldn't be a true Michigan Native if I didn't throw in a weather blurb in here and there!
At the end of this rainy and dreary day my husband led me out to the backyard to show me the baby rabbits' nest that was in our grass. They had been spared the night before from death-by-mower. They were pretty sweet and trying so hard to jump out of the hole. So, I did get to see a little beauty on this “spring” day.
A few weeks ago, I shared with you that I had some alone time down south and what that looks like for this girl in recovery. Then, we moved into Mother's Day. Now I want to share with you what our lives look like when we are on vacation in this new life of sobriety.
You see, this has not just been my journey. My husband has been on the road to recovery with me the whole way. Craig is what they call a “normie” in the AA world. The definition of a normie is basically one who doesn't have any issues with alcohol. They can have a beer, they might walk away from a table and leave a glass half full of wine (I don't get it!), there is liquor in the dutch bar above the fridge that remains untouched for weeks! What it comes down to is, they do enjoy alcohol (whatever that means), but they are not a slave to it.
There is not a fine line between my husband and I when it comes to alcohol. That line is BOLD and distinctive, there is nothing fine about it. He can, I can’t. I used to resent him whenever he had a drink no matter how considerate he tried to be (which was always.) It took me a long time to figure out how to do life on on life’s terms. In other words, it had to be black and white. Sherry cannot drink, Craig can, along with a lot of other people in my life.
So what's different on Sober Sherry's vacays now? First of all, I get out of bed as soon as it's light out to watch the sun rise, the dolphins play (if I’m lucky) and do my devotions. Craig and I also love to go down and sit on the beach, which is usually very quiet and peaceful. Not that recent weekend we were down there though!
Our quiet serene beach underwent a transformation. The best free entertainment we have ever had was about to take place. We sat on the beach for an entire day watching this trek of people walk to the “Mullet Toss.” The Mullet Toss is a huge party where you toss a Mullett (fish) from Florida to Alabama. At one time there was 30,000 people on the beach down there, according to the news!
Our beach is about a half mile from the Florabama Bar where the huge beach party was happening. People with coolers, wagons, chairs, and all the booze they could carry were walking the beach to this party. Later we observed them all walking back with a much lighter load, but not quite the same spring in their step, if you know what I mean.
My favorite people watching moment was when this guy says to the girl he was with, “I can’t carry these *&%#@! chairs anymore. We only paid $15 bucks at Walgreens for them. I’m leaving them right here!” She gave him a withering look and grabbed the chairs and kept walking. After about 50 feet she threw them down herself, and someone else picked them up and got two free beach chairs! We laughed at a lot of them, including the guy who stopped with his now empty little red wagon and climbed in and took a nap. None of this really looked like fun to me.
As we ate on our balcony afterwards and enjoyed a quiet evening together, we reflected on how different our day would've been, had I still been drinking. It brings to mind a line I had written down from somewhere,
“When the party is over, the pain remains.”
There used to be a lot of pain after the party. Fights, apologies, not remembering what I did. Things look a lot different now. There is no party. However, I do try to look at life as one long celebration bursting with new opportunities. Sorry, maybe a little to much PollyAnna happening, but that is truly the way I feel! Of course there will be days of pain, but my faith assures me there will be joy in the morning.
It is rather ironic that our vacation spot is only half a mile from the biggest and wildest bar this side of Alabama and Florida, but here’s a God moment for you. When we were first looking at our condo, we asked what the blinking light was down the road. Our realtor then filled us in about the Florabama Bar, located on the Florida/Alabama State Line. Craig shook his head at me with a look that said, “This is not a good fit.” Then our realtor laughingly said, “Of course you can go to the bar on Saturday night and to church there the next morning.” That's when I knew we were in the right place!
Turns out we love going to the Florabama Church! I had the privilege of interviewing the pastor there. We talked about how a bar becomes a church every Sunday morning and it is an amazing story! I look forward to sharing it with you sometime soon. The praise band is underneath the Bud Light Banner (and they are amazing by the way.) They don't hide the bar to have church and it works. The place is packed every Sunday. They had 3,000 people at their Easter service this year!
It's like I said earlier, I wanted the world to change for me, but instead I changed my mind so I could thrive in the world. Your surroundings may look the same, but it's where you are at with you and God that really matters. God is there when it is a wild bar on Saturday Night and He is still there when you praise Him in the same space on Sunday morning. Your behavior is up to you.
We biked for breakfast and went on the awesome bike paths in Gulf State Park and got to see baby alligators right next to the path! Some guy told us they were twins. Not sure how he knew that, I mean they did look the same, I guess… We went to the driving range and that was ok. It didn't take very long to see how bad I was at this game. I blew through a detestable little bucket of white balls very quickly. Lessons might be on the horizon. The best part was, our long walks on the beach and just disconnecting from the real world. It was glorious.
I know that not all who read this are struggling with alcohol, but if you are, I hope you take one thing away from what I have shared. It can be done, it is possible, and it is good, so very good.
Life on the other side is worth a try, take that first step today. I dare you. The pain is worth the gain. I promise.
Have a great weekend everyone and stay dry (pun is intended!)