Recovery changes everything. Without alcohol and other drugs, even your vacations may look different than they used to. Here are a few tips to help keep you happy, healthy, and sober, no matter where your next adventure may take you.
1. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CO-PILOTS
Talk to your fellow travelers about the importance of your sobriety & discuss ways in which they can work to support you. Set boundaries & expectations before you leave, & communicate about potential triggers.
2. REMEMBER YOUR BASIC NEEDS
Eat healthy & regularly, exercise, & get a full 8-hours of sleep. Take alone-time when you need it & monitor your energy levels & moods, to stay healthy, active, & balanced.
3. SCHEDULE FUN
Plan fun activities ahead of time to avoid boredom & create enough structure to keep you out of trouble. Instead of a focus on staying sober during your vacation, you can shift your focus to what’s next on the agenda, whether it’s golfing, snorkeling, shopping, going to the movies, or visiting a cool museum!
4. STAY CONNECTED
Don’t forget your headphones on the long plane ride, & don’t forget your support network. Call those that are the foundation for your recovery daily, attend online support group meetings, post to your blog, & even message your sober friends back home on Facebook.
5. TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Going on vacation won’t alleviate the struggles, obstacles, & stress of early recovery, in fact, it might make it worse. Plan a vacation after you have been able to maintain a stable period in recovery, when you are able to better relax & have fun.
6. FOCUS ON THE BRIGHTSIDE
Instead of spending your whole trip focusing on what you can’t do, make a commitment to focusing on the positive, & all the opportunities your sobriety has provided. When you see others sipping cocktails by the pool, it can be easy to start feeling sorry for yourself, but the only thing you are really missing out on is an addiction that had become unmanageable. Feel proud of your recovery & wake up in the morning feeling great & ready to go.
7. TAKE YOUR TOOLBOX
Download all your favorite recovery apps on your phone, pre-load your tablet with your top recovery reads, create a playlist of music that motivates your sobriety, pack a notebook to keep track of your journey, & any other games or resources that work to support your recovery.
8. PINPOINT THE PERFECT PLACE
This might mean skipping Cancun during spring break! Look for vacation destinations that revolve around activities free of alcohol & other drug use. Visit a national park or join a ‘sober tour’ headed for the Catacombs. Research locations that are known for more than their bar scenes.
9. PREPARE FOR ADVERSITY & TRIGGERS
Your flight will be delayed, your family will have drama, your hotel will be located right next to a bar that did not show up on Google Maps when you booked the spot. There will be last minute changes & things that do not go as planned, as with any true adventure! Mentally prepare yourself to take on these unknown challenges in stride, & don’t forget to bring a pillow, ear plugs, & a good book!