When you are in the early stages of addiction recovery, taking a vacation may sound like a good way to recharge and set the stage for a fresh start in your new life. At the same time, it can be tricky to navigate temptations that pop up while on vacation. Whether you go with a vacation group, retreat, or do-it-yourself trip, doing it sober is definitely possible.
Find support on the go and take steps to minimize stress
As Sober Courage points out, it is essential to minimize stress on a sober trip.Try to embrace an attitude of rolling with any hiccups that arise to avoid temptation triggered by stress. Anticipate potential issues and don’t be afraid to assert yourself. For example, ask the hotel ahead of time to empty the room’s mini-bar and be proactive at dinner to let servers know you don’t need alcohol.
If you are vacationing on your own, seek out local resources for support. Most communities have meetings available locally and you may turn to online meeting options too. Let your support people know you’ll be off on a trip and reach out to them if you are facing challenging moments or triggers.
Those who participate in Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon are likely familiar with looking for signs noting “Friends of Bill W.” or “Friends of Lois” that signal that a meeting is available in that location, and these are especially popular on cruises. Some people in recovery have also had success finding support at airports when they might be struggling to walk past the airport bar by paging “Bill W.” to their gate or a coffee spot.
Plan it yourself or rely on others to set the stage
Plenty of sober vacation options are available where you don’t have to do the planning yourself. In fact, as the New York Times explains, there are many structured trip opportunities available that cater specifically to the recovery crowd. For example, cruises are quite popular for this type of group. Maintaining your sobriety on a cruise on your own can be difficult, but taking this type of trip with a group of like-minded others can make it quite enjoyable.
If your idea of a relaxing vacation is to head to a spa to do yoga, get massages, or work on your overall health, there are sober options available all across the country and in every budget range. Retreats for those in addiction recovery are available as well and these can be a wonderful way for people to gain focus and control over their new life. These are ideal for those who want time for reflection in a calming, soothing, environment.
Adventurous souls can find exciting new challenges
Adventure tourism is popular with those in recovery too. The Los Angeles Times shares that the travel industry has embraced this niche of sober vacationing and there are many trips focused on surfing, skiing, camping, and other sports-related activities. These sober adventure vacations can take you to spots in Montana or Vermont, or if you have the budget to allow for it, you can even head off for challenges in Europe, the Caribbean, Alaska, or Africa.
Avoiding temptation when you are newly sober is stressful, especially during vacations. Ditch the old types of excursions you did during your days of addiction and look for new adventures that include like-minded individuals. Learning how to have fun while sober is essential for long-term success, and exploring new sights while connecting with others in recovery can be a great way to build your strength and embrace your new life.
Author: Michelle Peterson believes the journey to sobriety should not be one of shame but of pride. Her mission is aligned with that of RecoveryPride, which is to celebrate sobriety and those who achieve it.