Science has proven that traveling is the secret to happiness and helps to improve your general overall health, however, doing so while in addiction recovery could be challenging for some. Preparing yourself for your trip is essential to a successful vacation. Recovery is hard work and you will still have your “triggers”, your weaknesses and ultimately your illness. Traveling helps to broaden your mind with new cultures and experiences so you shouldn’t approach your upcoming trip with fear! Embrace it. It’s an exciting time. Before boarding your flight you should prepare yourself for what’s to come. Here are 6 tips to help ensure that you keep your sobriety while traveling.
What’s the “trigger” factor of the location?
Before leaving for your planned trip, it’s essential to access the location’s “trigger” factor. Being near an ocean is a high trigger factor for people trying to stay sober. Going to a tropical location or to a beach are the most romantic and highest risk for a relapse. However, going to a big city such as London or New York would be considered moderate risk due to what activities you plan to take and your ability to stay away from the party districts.
A trip to the Grand Canyon or a National Park are amongst low-risk destinations due to its natural setting which would allow for a spiritual reflection more so than alcohol temptations. Choose wisely and opt for what you feel is best for you at the stage you are at in your recovery.
Book your travel through a sober vacation website
Yes! Websites like this do exist! Sobervacations.com specialize in providing incredible experiences catered to those who are searching for a sober destination! Speak to a travel agent who understands exactly what you’re after so that you can focus purely on enjoying yourself.
A handy tip to know is that the travel website Expedia offers the ability to search for sober destinations. You can filter their vacation packages to search for ones that are sober friendly.
Try and have something planned for every day so that you don’t head down the path of boredom! Depending on your location go and enjoy snorkeling, play football, sightsee, read a book, go on a free walking tour…the options are endless! Excite yourself before departing and research your destination. Discover what you can do there to occupy yourself. Treat yourself to an incredible experience, you deserve it!
Keep your sober routine even while on vacation
It’s easy to fall out of routine for anyone while on vacation, for example, I always fall out of my gym routine when I go on vacation and indulge myself to eating lots of food that I usually wouldn’t when I’m at home. For people in recovery, it is essential to stay true to your sobriety routine. This may include meditation, calling a sponsor or sponsees, staying in touch with sober friends or attending 12 step meetings. While on vacation, don’t stop your routine. Continue on practicing the same things that have helped you this far to remain sober.
Try to minimize stress
Planning a trip and being on vacation can sometimes bring some unnecessary stress. This can put hefty demands on anyone’s coping skills. Try to adapt a “Go with the flow” attitude that could help you to take any unexpected frustrations in stride. If you need a moment to relax to calm down if a situation arises that wasn’t according to plan go for a quick walk, breathe, and simply remove yourself from the situation.
Don’t keep your vacation a secret
To add an additional layer of accountability reach out to your sober friends and ask them for advice on how they stayed sober on vacation. If they haven’t had a sober vacation yet, ask them if they know anyone who does that they could potentially put you in touch with. You could get a lot of insider information out of someone who has been to the place you are planning to visit, they might even have some sober friends who live there! Meet up with your sober connect for a meeting while on your vacation.
Most hotels have free Wi-Fi access so you can check in with your connections via Skype or Facebook. Keep yourself up to date and in an environment that always helps you to feel that you have a network to rely on for support.
Most importantly, enjoy yourself!
Just because you are sober doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time! There are no limits to what you can achieve when you focus on everything else but having a drink! Soak up every experience, every new person you meet, every new food you get to try to it’s absolute fullest!
Your first sober vacation won’t be easy at first, but it will get easier as you build your quality sobriety time! By following these suggestions you are on the right path to this new exciting stage to your new sober life. Is there any other advice that you feel is essential to our readers that could help them? We’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and let us know.