Recently, my son and I visited North Conway, NH., a place we stay every year, usually for a couple of nights. We’ve been visiting North Conway, just he two of us, since my son was three years old, he’s now 15. We usually stay in the same inn, but every once in awhile I like to mix it up a bit and stay somewhere new. This time we stayed at an inn that we had stayed in only once before, back when I was drinking.
It was winter. We have a kind of routine that varies based on the season. We lunched at our favorite spot, took a hike in the woods, and loaded up on sour candy at Zeb’s country store. We visited the rock shop, purchasing a fossil and a cool rock that my son picked out. At Zebs, we bought a game to play later at the inn. We probably arrived back at the inn at around 4:00 or 5:00. I was already looking forward to a glass of wine by the fire in the “library”. My son and I sat in the library and played our game, him with a soda me with a glass of wine.
By the time we were seated at dinner, I had drank two glasses pretty quickly and then proceeded to order another. If I remember correctly, I barely ate my dinner, feeling pretty buzzed and full from the wine. I know I had a least one more glass, maybe two. We sat by the fire again after dinner. I was drunk. I was talking and laughing too loud and my son definitely noticed.
We only had to walk up the stairs to our room. I’m sure I was stumbling. I forgot to lock the door.
The next morning, I was so hungover. My head was pounding and I felt nauseous. I had to pretend to feel fine. I could barely eat the lovely breakfast that was included in the cost of the hotel. I felt sick and ashamed. I felt like a bad mother. I managed to go snowtubing like we had planned, but it was a chore not a joy.
Fast forward to present day. This time I was alcohol free. I was completely present. I wasn’t thinking about when we were going to get back to the inn so I could have a drink. I thoroughly enjoyed my meals. I woke up with a locked door and no hangover. But much more importantly, I woke without shame. I am incredibly grateful that I am a non-drinker. It feels so good to say that.