Staying Sober on the Road – A Guide for Your Summer Vacation
When you are in the early recovery period, travel represents a challenge. When trying to remain sober, being away from the people in your network of support, having a whole new routine, and possibly being surrounded by others who are drinking alcohol, your summer vacation can be an important test of your determination to remain sober.
However, travel is a wonderful experience. And, it is not something you should necessarily avoid in recovery as long as you take steps to minimize your risks of a relapse. With some foresight and planning, you can maximize your chances of having a wonderful time and minimize the likelihood of falling prey to temptation. Here are some key tips to bear in mind before you hit the road.
Choose The Right Destination
When you are choosing the destination for your vacation, you need to plan carefully. Avoid any places where temptation is going to be put your way. Heading into Wine Country would be a very bad idea for a recovering alcoholic, for example, and there are certain types of vacations where drinking is a key part of the culture. An all-inclusive cruise, for example, could be a recipe for disaster, while a trip to Vegas could immediately result in your downfall. The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you are going to feel safe and comfortable in the destination of your choice. If the answer is no, think again.
Camping is often a great vacation choice for someone in recovery, or an activity break with plenty of sporting activities to keep you busy. You could even benefit from today’s latest trend of “sober tours,” which connect travelers with other holidaymakers who have made a commitment to sober living and who want to have a great time without alcohol. You can join in with all kinds of sober activities, including safaris, cruises, and well-being retreats.
Take Support Networks Along
Just because you are away from home does not mean that you need to be away from your support network. Thanks to today’s modern cell phones and digital technology, you can take it with you. There are many free apps that you can download to offer you encouragement and inspirational messages and tips to help you remain sober. There are also apps that can direct you to the nearest support group to where you will be staying so you can connect with other like-minded people on the road.
Plan Your Activities Before You Go
If you wait until you have actually arrived on vacation to plan your activities, you could find it difficult to avoid temptation. Having nothing to do can lead to you wandering around the area and finding the local bars and clubs. Instead, plan plenty of fun activities before you head off so that you have plenty to look forward to and plenty of structure within each day. Find out about local attractions you can visit, sports you can try or restaurants to visit so that you have plenty to keep you occupied without being tempted back to drinking.
Preparing Your Coping Strategies
Stress is one very common trigger point for a relapse, and travel can be extremely stressful. Not only are you handling new places, people, and situations, you may also be grappling with a new culture, different currency, and maybe a completely different language. Even the process of traveling itself isn’t without its stresses, from delays and cancellations to flight attendants offering you a glass of wine during the journey. Be prepared for the temptations and pressures you are likely to encounter during your travels and practice stress-reduction, meditation, and mindfulness techniques as and when required. Deep breathing is one useful trick to employ that can be used anywhere and anytime. Trying to see the lighter side of things is also important. It is almost inevitable that something at one point or another will go wrong during your trip. However, looking for the funny side and laughing about it will reduce the stress.
Do Not Be Afraid To Say No
If you are traveling with friends or family, they’ll probably already know you need to remain sober on vacation and won’t throw temptation your way. However, if you are traveling alone or with strangers, you’ll need to remain strong and have the confidence to say no if one of them invites you to a bar or offers you a drink. Prepare yourself for the eventuality that this could happen and practice what you’ll say should the situation arise so that it doesn’t come out of the blue. And, if necessary, be ready to leave the group if you feel that you could be getting into a risky situation.
Don’t Feel Self-Pity
If you are looking at other people sipping cocktails at the bar, it can be very tempting to wallow in self-pity. However, you should avoid that way of thinking. Remember that the only thing you are really missing is going back to a way of life that was taking you into a downward spiral. Some of those people who are enjoying their cocktails now could end up paying dearly later. They won’t be getting as much out of their vacation as you since you will be fully present and will have complete clarity of memory to fully enjoy and experience your trip.
SOBA College Recovery Addiction Treatment Center offers an innovative approach to the treatment of addiction, addressing the issues that lie behind the substance abuse disorder, as well as the addiction itself. By helping addicts to pinpoint the causes of their dependency, our skilled and professional team is able to offer full support and guidance not only through the period of rehabilitation but also during recovery. We help individuals and their families to find the best ways to cope with life after addiction without the need for alcohol or drugs and to be prepared to resist and avoid relapse, whatever form the temptation may take.