Leading a sober lifestyle can be demanding, and when you’re in recovery it seems like there are temptations everywhere. Nowhere is this truer than on vacation. Even if you aren’t traveling to an island paradise where there will be daiquiris as far as the eye can see, you’ll still run into bars at the airport and drink service on the plane.
It’s important, then, to do a bit of research before you embark on a vacation and plan well for the duration of the trip. If you’re going out of the country, it may all feel a little overwhelming at first, which can make staying sober even more difficult than usual. This is why you’ll need to be prepared and try to avoid locations you know you’ll find alcohol in.
Here are some of the best ways to plan a vacation when you’re in recovery.
Most people who vacation want to cut themselves off from the rest of the world, or at least from work and the pressures and stresses of home. But when you’re in recovery, it’s imperative that you stay connected in some way to your sponsor, counselor, or close friend or family member in case you need to talk. Let them know where you’ll be so that you can more easily hold yourself accountable for your actions.
Plan for your pet
If your four-legged best friend won’t be making the trip with you, be sure to plan for his safety and health while you’re on vacation. Search your area for a qualified, trustworthy pet sitter. When you know your furry pal is having a great vacation, too, you’ll be able to enjoy yours even more.
That said, if you have a fully-trained service dog and you’re traveling within the US, know that they’re permitted just about anywhere these days. But you’ll still need to make sure their paperwork and shots are up-to-date and bring along any necessary documentation. If you’re traveling out of the country, do some research online before you travel to make sure you can bring the dog along.
Choose a good destination
When thinking about your vacation destination, choose a place that will be good for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. If you’re going with other people, make sure you are able to choose some of the activities, or stipulate that you need time to yourself during part of the trip. Find events and activities that you know will make you happy and relaxed, rather than going along with what the group wants to do everyday.
When choosing lodging, know that most popular vacation destinations offer affordable vacation rentals. No more staying in a cramped hotel room! Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time to find the right place for you, read reviews carefully, and make sure you understand what additional fees will be added to the cost of your stay so that there are no surprises later on.
Because drug and alcohol abuse can take a toll on the body, it’s important that while on vacation you continue to do anything you do at home to keep yourself safe, healthy, and in a good frame of mind so that your physical recovery can continue along with your addiction recovery. This includes exercising daily, eating a well-balanced diet, journaling, attending meetings, or engaging in relaxing activities such as taking a long, hot bath or reading. Plan ahead for these activities and make a promise to yourself to make them a priority while you’re gone. Bring along anything you’ll need to accommodate these tasks so you don’t have to try and find the right tools in an unfamiliar place.
Remember, vacations can be stressful even when you’re not trying to stay sober in recovery. Traveling–especially with children or a group of people who all want to try different things–can take a toll on you in many ways, so it’s important to make sure you put yourself first whenever possible. However, with some planning and preparation, there’s no reason you can’t have the vacation of your dreams and stay sober and healthy at the same time.