29 July 2021

How to Stay Sober During Vacation

Once you have made the commitment to stay sober, you enter into an often times difficult road to recovery. Through your commitment to sobriety, you will likely struggle with addiction as a disease that works against your sobriety. Though you may be committed to your recovery, life can throw situations at you that can unleash a wave of cravings. One such situation is often times vacation.

Vacation is so notoriously stressful, in fact, that some treatment centers even warn against relapsing during Christmas. Don’t feel discouraged, though. When you are planning your vacation and on the trip itself, there are things that you can do to reduce the level of cravings and temptation. The following is a list of them.

1. Leave no Unstructured Time. Vacations are a lot of fun. Part of the fun is knowing that you have no responsibilities or cares. However, the abundance of unstructured time can be a real problem for the alcoholic. During unstructured time, your mind is likely to wander to just about every subject under the sun. Some of these subjects can be troubling. The irony is that you go on a vacation to get away from things, but your troubles have a way of haunting you wherever you go.

For this reason, you need to make sure that you have activities in mind for those moments you’re feeling a bit untethered. You don’t need to plan every second of your vacation, that could be a nightmarish task before the vacation even begins! But do be aware of the different activities available to you so that you never find yourself with too much free time.

2. Make Plans for All of the Practical Aspects of Your Trip. A common source of stress on every vacation is a lack of planning. While planning everything down to the minute can be a source of stress in and of itself, it helps to have a general plan of all the practical aspects of your trip. Know which companies provide shuttle services, the hours of the venues you want to visit, the cost of services you plan to hire, etc. Having all of this information in advance can help you smoothly transition from activity to activity during your vacation.

3. Stay Connected with Your Support Network. Every drinker who has gone sober knows that they need to constantly have access to their support system. There is no exception when you go on vacation. You should tell your friends, family, and sponsors that you will be travelling. Try to make a connection at least once a week with your main source of support.

If you go to Alcoholics Anonymous, it is wise to take a vacation in a location where you have potential access to meetings. In most major metropolises, you will find that there is a group.

4. Book a Vacation That Gives You Sober Options. According to some reports, people on cruise ships drink, on average, about eight times more than they normally would at home. The astounding fact is that they will actually drink about 32 drinks a week. A combination of unstructured time, drinking culture, and celebration leads to a dangerously tempting atmosphere.

Be aware of potential triggers during vacation and book a vacation that provides plenty of sober options. Outdoor activities, yoga retreats, and beach vacations are all great options.

5. Stay on Your Recovery Routine. Almost all people who are successful at recovery adopt a recovery routine. This might include things like meditation, prayer, working out, etc. It is important that on your vacation you stick to the routine that has been helping you.

A good way to ensure that you stay on your routine is to write out a schedule for yourself for every day of the vacation. You don't need to be a stickler with regard to doing every single thing on your schedule. Things will be okay as long as you stick to your general schedule.

6. Stay Away from Unhealthy Activities. Of course, vacation time brings with it a lot of activities that include drinking. If drinking is going to be a major part of what your friends are planning, then you might want to skip that activity. Your friends are sure to understand that you don't want to participate because it could be a bad decision for you. If you can, try to vacation with people who are willing to plan activities and events that don't involve a lot of drinking.

If you follow the tips stated above, then you are likely to be successful in staying sober on your next vacation. You should remember that vacations are meant to be fun and refreshing. So, try to plan everything out so that you experience a stress-free time. It may be a good idea to review with your support people and your therapist the types of things that may make you drink on vacation. With this information in hand, you will be prepared to have a great, sober time on your trip.

About the Author
William Weiss

William Weiss
I am an advocate of long-term sobriety. As a member of the recovery community, I feel it is important to spread awareness of alcohol and drug misuse in America. Being personally affected and having family members struggling, it is a personal quest of mine to get the facts about substance misuse to light, ultimately enlightening America on this epidemic.

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