The Carribbean was beautiful and I enjoyed every minute of it. And I know I enjoyed it more because of sobriety, not less. It made a real difference in the time I had. It was one of the first vacations I've had where I wasn't looking forward to the end and to getting back to my usual routines (after a week of excess). I was stress free, totally relaxed, I felt just great all over. I ate healthy and for the first time met my goal of taking long walks on the beach every day. The past four summer vacations, I was too hungover or groggy to fulfill that ambition.
The place that we stayed at was a smallish, very beautiful resort. We had a first floor condo that opened to a beautiful garden with several pools and swimming canals connecting them (the kids loved that), and lounge chairs spaced strategically for privacy and relaxation. The ocean (warm, crystal clear blue water--we work our butts off to get our pool to look like this every summer) was a couple of hundred years away, past a small open air restaurant. The resort had lounge chairs, tiki huts, Hobie cats, snorkels, kayaks etc. to entertain us. I tried parasailing (fun!) with my son and snorkeled quite a bit (beautiful reefs, fish, etc) as well as conch diving (ate what we caught for lunch).
The restaurant had a bar but there was not a lot of drinking going on at this resort. I don't think I ever saw more than two or three people at the bar at a time. Nor were there any loud late nights that I could hear. I don't know whether this was because it was school vacation week (lots of families) or because the resort was just not that kind of place but it was absolutely great for me!
Even my husband was well behaved--he had rum drinks and beer but not a lot by any stretch. He didn't get drunk and never suggested hanging out at the bar or letting my daughter babysit so we could go out. We also went on a snorkeling excursion with 12 other people and the guides were trying to have the guests finish off the rum punch they had brought. They were not successful.
I'd say the only twinge I had at all was when I was coming off the beach at sunset (I stayed on the beach and swam or read or walked until sunset just about every night we were there), there was a woman coming on to the beach to watch the remains of the day with a glass of white wine in her hand. It was a quickly dismissed twinge though.
All in all it was better than I dreamed of and alcohol would not have improved the experience one iota.
But it's back to reality now and has been for a couple of weeks. I hope I can go again next year!