Going on vacation should be a fun and relaxing time to take a break from the stresses of your day-to-day life. Unfortunately, if you're a recovering drug addict or alcoholic, it can be a challenge.
It's quite normal to drink a little more than you would during a vacation. This is a dangerous attitude for a former alcoholic. Alongside the holidays, vacations are a high-risk time to be an ex-alcoholic or drug addict.
The good news is that it's certainly possible to enjoy a sober vacation. It just takes a bit of special planning. This article explains exactly how you can safely enjoy travel after rehab.
One of the most important decisions you'll make regarding your sober vacation is the destination. If you pick the wrong destination, staying sober will be much harder. It should go without saying that you need to avoid "party" cities and destinations.
If a city is well known for its bars and nightclubs, you might want to give it a miss. Certain cities may be known for parties as well as other things like arts and culture. While you can certainly have a sober vacation in these locations, you should approach them with caution.
In cities like Amsterdam or Prague, it's easy to feel jealous of other people partying. The temptation to join them might be too great. Of course, this doesn't mean that you have to swear off these cities for life.
With that said, these kinds of cities are probably better suited for later in your sobriety. If you're fresh out of rehab, you should focus on destinations with less temptation.
For example, going on a camping vacation is ideal. If you're out in the wilderness, you probably couldn't get your hands on drugs or alcohol even if you wanted to.
It's always important to have a plan of action for your vacation. For a sober vacation, this is mandatory! If you're visiting any kind of city where you might be tempted to visit the bar or to look for drug dealers, you need to have a solid schedule.
Keeping yourself busy for the whole trip and avoiding any significant downtime is a great way to ensure you're not tempted to fall off the wagon.
The key thing here is to have your vacation filled with things you can look forward to. That way, if you feel tempted to drink, you have plenty of reasons not to.
Maybe you have an early morning walking tour booked, which would mean you can't afford to be hungover.
Another vital part of travel after rehab is going with the right people. If you're going on vacation with people who are ready to party, the chances of staying sober are not good.
Sadly, as an ex-addict, it's usually not viable to go on a vacation with people who want to drink. If you want to stay on the right path, you'll need to go on a vacation with like-minded individuals.
That's not to say you can't go on vacation with people who want to drink alcohol. If you take that kind of attitude, you might struggle to find anyone who wants to go on vacation with you.
You just need to avoid going on a vacation with people who have a "party" mindset.
For most people, vacation time is a time when they allow themselves to neglect their health. While this isn't too harmful in most circumstances, it can be dangerous for an addict.
After a stay in rehab, you should be getting regular exercise. Exercise helps you to feel good naturally, and it will reduce the chance that you'll relapse. If you stop exercising all of a sudden, you won't be getting those natural feel-good chemicals.
This could have a negative impact on your sobriety as you could start feeling cravings for drugs or alcohol. The solution is to make sure you don't break your exercise routine.
If you get up every morning and jog, you need to make sure you continue with that routine while on vacation. It might not make for the most relaxing time, but it will enable you to maintain a positive pattern which is vital to your recovery.
Not only is a vacation disruptive to your routine, but it's also disruptive to your social support network. Do you have someone you usually rely on if you feel tempted to use drugs or alcohol again? If so, will you be able to contact this person while you're on vacation?
It makes sense to establish ahead of time who your emergency contact will be in the event that you feel tempted. It could be a trusted friend or family member, or it could be a sponsor from a therapy meeting.
You should arrange to contact someone in an emergency, but it might also make sense to schedule regular calls with that person. A sober vacation can be a difficult experience. Getting support from someone you trust can help you to get through it without resorting to drugs or alcohol.
You might also consider visiting local meetings for former addicts. Meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are available all around the world. As an English speaker, you can even find meetings in English in foreign countries.
A sober vacation can be a challenge, particularly if you only got clean recently. You need to make sure you go on the right vacation with the right people. You also need to make sure you have a solid plan in place.
If you suffer from a relapse while on vacation or if you need help getting your addiction under control, you should consider a stay in rehab. Take a look at our contact page to take the first step.