A well-deserved vacation is a great way to unwind and de-stress from everyday life. If you’re working through Recovery, some relaxation time is okay. Recharging and going somewhere beautiful, new or exciting is a great way to boost your motivation as you move forward on this difficult journey. Yet vacations present a lot of hazards for those recovering from Substance Addiction.
Sobriety changes the travel experience. Whether it’s stepping outside your routine, going places with unfamiliar triggers or seeing various temptations to drink or use drugs, vacations can present a real danger to your sobriety. In fact, some individuals go on vacation only to relapse and take three steps back in their Recovery.
You deserve a break, but there’s a smart way to go about it. By planning a sober vacation, you can enjoy yourself and protect your Recovery.
The Best Places for Sober Vacations
Not all vacation plans are created equal when you’re in Recovery from Drug or Alcohol Addiction. Instead of going to a booze-friendly beach resort or a cruise with carte blanche drinking, choose an excursion where temptation will be at a minimum. Here are just a few sober vacation ideas:
- Amp up the adventure: Whether it’s ziplining in Costa Rica or whitewater rafting in Uganda, make adventure the focus of your next vacation. Not only will you be able to cross a thing or two off your bucket list, but you’ll also feel invigorated and ready to tackle new challenges with a fresh perspective.
- Try a wellness retreat: Going through a Recovery program can be mentally, physically and emotionally draining. Now is the perfect time to focus on your overall wellness. There are tons of wellness options out there, from spa getaways to yoga retreats. Some can be found in the most beautiful places on earth — think tropical paradises like Bali or Brazil, where you can soak up incredible natural beauty as you rest and recoup.
- Step into the great outdoors: Speaking of nature, staying sober is a lot easier when the closest person is miles away. Grab your camping and hiking gear and head to the nearest state or national park. From towering trees to majestic mountain vistas, these breathtaking views will take your mind off all your worries.
- Explore the world’s great cities: Whether you stay stateside or go on a European excursion, the world is filled with incredible cities filled with one historic and beautiful site after another. Visit the many well-known monuments in Paris or do like the tourists in NYC. While cities have some temptations to drink or use drugs, you can carefully plan your travels to avoid problematic locations.
- Indulge in a food tour: If history and culture aren’t your thing, maybe you should let your belly guide the way. If you’ve got a taste for exotic flavors or fine cuisine, join a food tour. Whether it’s pasta in Italy or the street food of Taiwan, these vacations are an adventure for your palate.
Tips for Traveling Sober
For some, travel may feel like the ultimate test of sobriety. By planning ahead, you can minimize your risk of relapse and ensure your vacation is an enjoyable experience rather than a series of obstacles. Here are some tips that may help you out during your journeys:
- Call the hotel ahead of time: Let them know you don’t drink and ask them to empty the minibar of any alcohol.
- Don’t neglect your comfort: Whether it’s your favorite pillow or music that instantly sets you at ease, make sure your room is a comfortable place to unwind throughout your vacation.
- Bring along Recovery literature: Vacations are a great time to get some reading in, and many books about Recovery can inspire you and keep you motivated to stay sober.
- Listen to your body and HALT: If you find yourself feeling hungry, angry, lonely or tired, it’s time to take a break and do something about it.
- Bring a sober buddy: Travel is more fun with someone else along for the ride. Bring a sober friend who can keep you accountable and help you resist temptations.
- Get connected or stay in touch: If there are recovery meetings at your vacation destination, work one into your plans. If this step isn’t possible, stay connected to your support network, whether it’s a counselor, sponsor or friend.
Get the Help You Need at 7 Summit Pathways
If you haven’t yet taken the first step in your Recovery from drugs or alcohol, 7 Summit Pathways can help. Our evidence-based programs are individualized to make sure you get the help you need.