We’re in the midst of peak vacation season, but if you are still in the early stages of recovery, you may be unsure how to handle a sober summer vacation. In active addiction, you may have been reluctant to go out of town because you weren’t sure if you would be able to find a dealer in a different city. Or, your past vacations may have centered on activities that enabled further drinking or drug use.
You may be wondering if it’s possible to have fun on vacation while remaining focused on your recovery goals. The good news is that the answer is a resounding yes. Read on for our top tips for enjoying a sober summer vacation.
Avoiding Temptation on Summer Vacation
As with other aspects of your recovery, it’s essential to plan activities that are not going to jeopardize your sobriety. One of the best ways to do this is to find a vacation destination that will help you remain drug- and alcohol-free. Look for family-friendly options such as a theme park, or go on an activity-centered trip, like one where the focus is on sports such as rock climbing, kayaking, windsurfing or scuba diving.
If your travels will take you to an area with active AA or NA groups, look up their meeting times in advance, and set reminders on your phone to attend those meetings. Alternatively, rely on a mobile sobriety community like Sober Grid to connect with a free peer support group anytime you need it.
Plan for How to Deal With Relapse Triggers
No matter how well you define your strategy before you head out on your summer vacation, there’s no guarantee you won’t encounter triggering situations such as stress, anger or seeing other people drinking or using drugs. Be sure to anticipate these higher-risk scenarios, and have a plan for how to navigate them.
For example, if you get invited to attend a wedding where you know there will be an open bar, you may need to excuse yourself from the reception and take a walk around the block if you are feeling triggered. Bringing a sober friend or sponsor to the gathering as your “plus one” can also help you stay accountable to your goals.
Negative emotional encounters can also be a significant relapse trigger for many people. If you know certain topics of discussion are a minefield for you, request in advance that your traveling companions avoid bringing these up. If you need to, you can even write down your response and rehearse it ahead of time. That way, if those issues arise while you’re on vacation, you can politely but firmly extricate yourself from the situation with less risk of hurting anyone else’s feelings and ruining the fun.
Don’t Let Summer Vacation Threaten Your Recovery
Whether you are newly sober and worried about taking your first summer vacation without alcohol or drugs – or if you have been in recovery for some time and have a big trip circled on the calendar – you can learn how to become a sober traveler and still have the time of your life.
If you are seeking a way out of your drug or alcohol misuse, New Found Life is your refuge. Since 1993, our compassionate addiction specialists have offered a range of treatment programs dedicated to helping people get – and stay – sober. Call us 24/7 to learn more about how the services at our qualified California rehab facility can benefit you.