People in support groups often bring up their spouses’ drinking habits on vacation. Many of the people I’ve met told me they saw their spouses’ alcoholic tendencies for the first time when they were traveling or on vacation.
Why does this happen? Why do people suddenly drink more when they’re on vacation?
Well, I believe there are multiple reasons for this. First of all, the best thing about being on vacation is that you don’t really have responsibilities. If you’re traveling, you have to wake up, eat breakfast, and walk around town to see the sights. That’s not a bad way to spend your day. You feel free and relaxed, and you are in a celebratory mood.
Which brings us to the second reason. Western society associates drinking with celebration. When something good happens, chances are at least one of the people around you would propose to drink to it. If you get a new job, you have to buy your friends some drinks. You get a promotion, you wine and dine your spouse. You’re on vacation, you try alcoholic beverages you normally wouldn’t at times when you would normally be sober.
Drinking On Vacation Can Be Harmless
But drinking on vacation is not necessarily something to worry about. I’ve met people who did not have a history of alcoholism drink their days away when they were on vacation. Even though this is not their normal behavior, it’s not necessarily a problem.
As I said, our culture believes drinking helps you relax, so people on vacation are prone to indulge when they normally wouldn’t. If your spouse doesn’t have a history of alcoholism and she or he only drink more when you’re on vacation, she or he might not have a drinking problem. They might have a problem relaxing.
Why Drinking On Vacation Is Problematic
Now, even though drinking on vacation can be harmless, it can also be problematic. Despite the fact that they’re vacationing, most people still have some responsibilities. If you’re traveling with your kids, you surely have to look after them. If you’re traveling to a foreign city or country, you might have to catch a certain bus or train. Drinking messes you up, and you might miss some opportunities for its sake.
Another problem with day drinking on vacation is that it affects your memories. Some of the people I talked to in support groups admit that they can barely remember some of their vacations because they were drinking the whole time. The days blend into each other and they can’t really remember their experiences.
My Experience With Vacation Drinking
And I can confirm this. I used today drink whenever my wife and I traveled before our daughter was born. I didn’t get drunk at breakfast, mind. But I usually started drinking at noon and drank the entire day. I drank a lot, but I spaced out the drinks so I wouldn’t get really drunk. I already had a tolerance for alcohol, so I thought the booze wouldn’t affect me. I was buzzed the entire day and I didn’t see any problems with that.
But looking back, I can barely remember where we traveled. I remember flashes and images. Most of the things I remember from our vacations are what my wife told our friends over dinner when we got back. I don’t have many memories of my own, and now I regret it.
And the worst part is, my vacation drinking continued for years, even after my daughter was born. We didn’t travel as much, but I still took some days off every year. I would spend days working around the house or visiting family, and I would continue drinking.