When you’re in recovery most things are bound to look and feel very different, especially when you’re away from home. Let’s face it, recovery changes everything!
If you’re wondering how to approach your next vacation without alcohol or other substances, we have some tips to help you stay sober on your next journey.
Start by picking the perfect destination.
If you’re traveling during spring break you may want to avoid the more notorious party places. Today there are many vacation packages that cater to those wishing to stay sober while having a fabulous getaway. Likewise, many cities have alcohol free party venues and more and more concerts designate an alcohol free zone in which to enjoy the festivities. In other words, pick a place whose reputation doesn’t necessarily revolve around its bar scene!
Remember that your basic needs haven’t changed.
If anything, it’s even more important to try and stick to a regular schedule as much as possible in order to maintain a sense of balance.
This includes trying to get a good night’s sleep, for as many hours as you usually do back at home. Don’t forget to eat as regularly and as healthy as you can while being tempted by vacation treats and snacks! If you exercise, stick to your routine and be sure to take as many time-outs as you need in order to stay centered and feeling in control.
Staying sober doesn’t mean spending every single minute focused on that thought. Sometimes it helps to plan ahead so that you have something to look forward to. For example, you can shift your attention to day-planning, scheduling events in advance and also carving out room for spontaneous fun.
Remember that maintaining a sense of structure doesn’t have to come at the expense of spur of the moment fun– don’t get bogged down thinking about what you can’t do! Vacation is time for adventure and trying new things. Why not plan to cross some things off your bucket list, or try something out of your comfort zone—bungee jumping, rock climbing or a scenic helicopter trip all come to mind!
Keep your triggers and stress buttons in mind.
Mental preparation is every bit as important as the logistical preparations you so carefully make.
For example, flights get delayed, luggage gets lost and inevitably your travel companions bring their own sets of dramas. If you are with a group keep in mind that everyone has different routines, travel rules and conceptions of what having fun means! So by all means, don’t forget to pack plenty of patience along with your earbuds, a pillow and a few munchies!
In other words, expect things to take a side trip (pun intended) from the norm, and be prepared for last-minute changes.
If you’re traveling with a group, communicate your needs and goals. Talk to your friends or family about the importance of your sobriety and share what they can do to support you. Many people find it helpful to talk about potential triggers and to set expectations before you leave home.
Likewise, don’t leave behind all of the helpful tools that you rely on at home. Make sure any recovery apps you use on a regular basis are on your phone and download recovery readings ahead of time. If there’s a playlist that influences your sobriety, make sure to have it handy.
Just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t stay connected to your network of support. Call or text the people who motivate your sobriety and don’t forget to call into any online support groups you belong to.
Being away from home will bring its own set of unique challenges
There will still be obstacles, struggles and stress, and it’s very possible that being away from familiar territory will make sobriety harder, not easier.
Because of this, you may want to wait to plan a vacation bash until after you’ve maintained a certain length of time in recovery. While not a hard and fast rule, it is a consideration that many experts recommend you think about prior to making big, complicated or lengthy plans.
Whenever you decide to travel, and wherever you decide to enjoy your next adventure, by all means, don’t spend your entire trip focused on what you can’t do. Yes, the truth is that when you’re in recovery you are missing out on something—an unmanageable addiction that was adversely affecting your life and the lives of your loved ones. Now, instead of carrying that burden, you can wake up every morning feeling healthy and knowing that you’re giving yourself, the world, and your loved ones the very best you’ve got to give.
There’s no doubt that seeing someone downing a beer or sipping cocktails can be a one-way ticket to a pity party. Instead, choose to focus on the positives, like the brand new opportunities that sobriety brings into your life. Being in recovery is a grand adventure in and of itself. There are new things to discover and new people to meet.
Take that vacation, you’ve earned it! And when you do, remember that with just a little planning and a lot of patience you’ll be good to go—literally!
Recovery is possible—recover your unique, purposeful, sober life by reaching out to the dedicated experts at Cumberland Heights.
Addiction is a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal disease. For over 50 years we have carefully provided the highest quality of care for adults, adolescents and families who suffer from, or are affected by this devastating disease.
Our nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center is located on a peaceful, pastoral 177-acre campus on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. We provide a continuum of services through two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes.
At Cumberland Heights, we always put the patient first, and value the importance of family participation in the recovery process. Take the first step toward healing by calling us at (866) 899-5231 today.