A Fun Fact I Discovered About My Sober Self
Traveling makes me anxious, this cannot be denied. But I have come to realize, that it ain't so bad. These days my anxiety around getting on a plane is much less than it was in the days when I was drinking. And all things surrounding our trip, I have found that I am not looking to completely escape or avoid the chaos involved in planning it.
In less than two weeks, our family of 5 will be traveling to Israel for my husband to play hockey in the Maccabiah games. We will be there for two weeks and are staying in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. We haven't done much to prepare for this trip, but we are attempting to finalize some of the minor details this week. We have our flights and hotels booked, which is a major piece of the puzzle. Overall though, we are slightly less than prepared for such a major transatlantic flight.
We don't travel much with our children. We thrive off routine, and I especially enjoy sleeping in my own bed. I know we will need to be flexible and open minded throughout this two week trip, and we will likely be thrown a lot of curveballs. We are going to be in a part of the world that is quite unfamiliar for all of us, traveling around during the hottest time of year, attempting to sightsee as well as support dad in his pursuit of the USA gold medal.
There are a lot of moving parts for this trip. A few other families we know, with kids of multiple ages, are attempting to create an itinerary together to go sightseeing on the days off with us. We want to get the most out of it and see all we can, so we want to book excursions that will make everyone happy. I have no idea what half of these activities actually entail, even though I have been assured they are all kid friendly.
Evan and I often wing it when on vacation. We usually figure things out as we go, booking excursions the morning of and showing up at restaurants at 4pm in the hopes of them squeezing us in. As the kids have gotten older, we have learned to go with the flow. And our kids usually do too. But we are going into this trip much more prepared than ever before. We are making reservations for meals already. We are booking guides to show us around. We have vans reserved to take us to and from the hotel. Regardless of all this prep, I know that none of this makes a huge difference in the end, because the only thing that matters to me is the fact that I won't be drinking. That is what will help me stay sane during these two weeks. Staying sober will allow me to survive the build up and anticipation over the next two weeks before we go.
I ultimately know that having over a year and a half of sobriety under my belt will help prepare me better than any kind of checklist or tour guide ever will. In the past, the anxiety would be starting up now and getting me scared to the point of wanting to cancel. I would be stress shopping, picking fights with Evan and catastrophizing every possible scenerio I could think of that could go wrong for us in Israel. I would be drinking a lot in preparation for all that might go wrong, only setting me up for one massive negative experience.
If alcohol was still in my life today, I would probably drink too much on the plane trip to Israel, beginning it all on one massively horrendous note. Starting things off with a bender in one country and landing in a completely different timezone hungover the next morning is the worst feeling in the world. Add three kids to the mix and it is a recipe for disaster.
Instead, I am going into this process managing my anxiety the best way possible - eyes wide open and sober. I feel clear-headed. And I have a little bit more clarity just knowing how much better off I am today than I was even just yesterday. Each day, everything feels that much brighter and easier.