When you’re trying to recover from alcohol and drug addiction, it’s important to make sure that every part of your life changes. Everything looks different, from the people you associate with to your vacations. This is partly what makes beating an addiction so difficult and stressful. While it might be tempting to see vacations as time off from your recovery efforts too, one slip could mean the end of all your hard work. Still, it can be a difficult task to stay sober on vacation, and this can cause major anxiety for individuals trying to maintain their recovery efforts. If you’re anxious about an upcoming vacation, don’t worry. There are tips you can use to help you stay on track and sober throughout your vacation.
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Chances are good that you’re traveling with other people. Make sure they know that you’re trying hard to stay sober. Highlight your efforts thus far, and explain to them why it’s so important for you to avoid the substances that previously got you into trouble. Ask them for their support. You’d be surprised how many people would be willing to drink away from you or engage in activities that don’t involve alcohol in order to help you stay on track. Alcohol might be fun for some, but if you’ve surrounded yourself with the right people, they’ll be more than happy to help you out. There’s no shame in talking about your recovery. If anything, they’ll be proud of you for taking steps to improve your life.
It’s amazing how one unhealthy decision can often lead to another. If you’re skipping sleep, eating bad food, and otherwise neglecting your health, it can easily lead you down the path of drinking. You don’t have to be a saint on vacation — have a slice of cake or that juicy burger. But don’t make unhealthy decisions habitual. Make sure to exercise, get enough sleep, take time for yourself, and check in with yourself to ensure you’re staying healthy. Doing so can go a long way to help you avoid alcohol.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have close friends and family members who support their recovery efforts. However, that’s no excuse for slipping off the wagon while on vacation. The chances are good that if you’ve come this far, you have a support network somewhere. Maybe it’s an AA group or an online support network. Maybe it’s a church congregation or a yoga class. Whoever it is that’s been helping you so far, make sure you can stay in touch with them while on vacation. Let them know you’re going, when to hear from you, and even ask that they check in with you via text or messenger to see how you’re doing. Call them if you feel the urge to drink. Your support network is your foundation, your rock, so don’t abandon them while on vacation. h Y
Depending on where you are in your recovery, it might be a good idea to avoid alcohol-centered locations when taking a vacation. In other words, if you’ve been planning a trip to Vegas, maybe choose a wilderness camping trip instead. This is particularly true if you’re early in your recovery. Sure, you might be able to make it through a week in Vegas without touching a drink — that would be great! But why risk it? Until you have years of recovery behind you, try your best to choose vacation destinations that aren’t known for alcohol consumption and general recklessness.
Finally, make sure you anticipate any potential triggers and have a toolbox ready to go. Is stress something that makes you want to drink? Have a course of action prepared for flight delays, obnoxious neighbors on your flight, and anything else that might cause you stress. Download your favorite recovery apps, eBooks, games, meditation apps, and anything else that can help you get through those tough times. Set yourself up for success. If you know flights cause you stress, tell the flight attendant serving you to please not offer you any alcohol because you’re in recovery. They will be more than happy to oblige. Know yourself, know your triggers, and be prepared for them.
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There are other ways you can help yourself stay sober while on vacation, but these are some of the most successful methods that others in recovery have used. The name of the game is creating the best chance of success for yourself. Going on vacation because you’re stressed about your life might not be a great idea; in fact, it could be a recipe for disaster. Only go on vacation when you’re in a good frame of mind, you’re able to communicate your needs to others, you have access to your support network, and you can set yourself up for success. Avoid locations that are notorious for alcohol consumption, and make sure you’re staying healthy while traveling. Doing these things can help you stay on track and sober while on vacation.
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