I recently planned a vacation with my husband to an all-inclusive resort, something I wasn’t completely sold on since I’ve been sober for the last eight months. We’d visited all-inclusive resorts in the past, but my memories of those trips revolve around days spent drinking margaritas poolside and evenings fueled by wine and after-dinner cocktails.

I stopped drinking cold turkey at the end of last year, desperate to shake hangovers and increased anxiety. I’ve found a sense of well-being in sobriety that I won’t be giving up anytime soon. Still, I wondered what it’d be like to be in a booze-centric environment and abstain from alcohol.

When we visited Sandals’ newest adults-only, all-inclusive resort in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, I found that the beautiful resort and the island it lies on were way more enjoyable without the chaos alcohol brings to a vacation. Here’s how I navigated being a sober person in an environment where the booze was always flowing.

I made sure my room was stocked with alcohol-free drink options

Even though I’m sober, my husband still drinks alcohol. I didn’t request a completely “dry” room at Sandals St. Vincent and the Grenadines — though it’s not a bad idea for others looking to stay sober — because I didn’t want to stop him from enjoying that aspect of the all-inclusive resort.

Instead, I requested that non-alcoholic drinks be stocked in our room in addition to things like the wine and vodka that were included. With ingredients like club soda, Diet Coke, and grapefruit juice on hand, it was easy to sip a mocktail whenever I wanted.

“Quit lit” books and sobriety podcasts made me feel less alone in my choice to abstain

While I’m sober, I don’t consider myself an alcoholic or work with a support group or sponsor to maintain my sobriety. To make sure I didn’t feel alone in my choice to be sober at an all-inclusive resort, I listened to sobriety podcasts like “The Sober Mom Life” and read “quit lit” on my Kindle.

Having books like “Unbottled Potential: Break Up with Alcohol and Break Through to Your Best Life” by Amanda Kuda at the ready was a great way to keep other sober voices in my head throughout the trip.

The resort offered so many great booze-free drinks that I didn’t miss alcohol

Sandals had a great selection of fresh juices and mocktails available across its bars and restaurants, so there was never a time when I felt like everyone else had a fun drink, and I was left sipping water. I used my time at the resort, where everything was included, to try new drinks, and even found a refreshing new summertime favorite: coconut water with ice and a lime.

I also had fun trying new-to-me treats on excursions

On days when we went on excursions around St. Vincent, I used the travel time to explore food and drink options I’d never find at home. From sorrel, a hibiscus and ginger drink I ordered at a bar on Mustique, to a line of canned sparkling water from the makers of Angostura bitters, there were many new-to-me drinks to try that kept me from craving alcohol.

Focusing on the flavors of the food at Sandals — rather than alcohol — made dinners feel special

Sandals has more than 10 restaurants on its St. Vincent property, so there was always some kind of food to try, from coconut macaroons at the coffee shop to jerk pork at our favorite lunch spot.

During my drinking days, food and wine went hand-in-hand, so it was refreshing to really focus on the flavors in the food at the resort rather than drift through each meal slightly tipsy and be left with little recollection of what was served.

I filled my downtime at the resort with activities

There were plenty of activities on the schedule at our resort, from poolside movies in the evenings to dance parties with Caribbean performers. I attended a bracelet-making class one morning with an iced latte in hand, and sipped mocktails at the property’s rum bar one evening while watching guests do karaoke. Focusing on things to do rather than things to drink was the key to having a really great time in every circumstance.

My trip only solidified my decision to be sober

I spent many years trying to moderate my drinking and find a happy medium that would allow me to have my nightly wine but not feel like garbage the next day. As a sober person, the burden of worrying about when to switch to water or whether I’m talking too loud because I’m tipsy are now non-issues, and I feel a freedom I wish I could impart to others.

Visiting an all-inclusive resort as a non-drinker was a great experience for me — something I can’t wait to do again. While I worried I’d feel like I was missing out on the value of an all-inclusive being sober, I realized the real benefit was the incredible scenery, delicious food, and relaxing activities. To my surprise, I didn’t need a drink in my hand to enjoy everything the resort had to offer.



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