Summer is here, and for many that means family vacations or getaways with friends. Going on vacation can be a great way to relax, unwind, and try new things. However, for those in recovery, it can be scary to leave the comfort of your safe environment and head somewhere new where the temptations are unknown. But this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your vacation to stay home. With a little planning, you can make the most of your trip without sacrificing the progress you’ve made in recovery.
Avoid hot spots where you know drinking and partying are prevalent. Instead, opt for somewhere a little further off the beaten path, or pick a family-friendly locale where the emphasis is not on drinking. Look for places that have a lot of activities that pique your interest, whether that’s exploring the great outdoors, visiting museums, or checking out historical sites.
Research ahead of time so you can plan your days accordingly and not have long periods of downtime. Know which activities are open when and what you want to see each day. This can also help you know what areas to avoid where temptation may linger.
Attend support group meetings no matter where you are. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous hold meetings around the world. Find out if there is a meetup nearby and make plans to attend just to keep yourself grounded and accountable. Plus, it can be refreshing to spend time with a new group of people and hear about their experiences.
Stick with what you know even when on vacation. If you’re used to doing yoga, meditating, or going for a run each day, you don’t have to stop just because you’re not at home. Continue to implement the strategies you’ve learned for stress reduction and dealing with challenging situations. Make sure you get plenty of rest and eat a well-balanced diet to support a positive mood and more energy.
Choose your company wisely and make sure there are others who will help you to stay accountable and who respect your sobriety. If you know your friends want to visit the hottest night clubs and parties, you may want to sit that trip out, or choose instead to go with friends who have similar interests as you do. Remove yourself from any tempting situations and focus on activities that will keep you busy without involving drinking or drug use.
Enjoy time with family and trying new things. Watch your kids explore new places and interests while you are fully present and engaged. Be proud of yourself and how far you have come. Let that inspire and motivate you to keep moving forward and seeing what life has to offer.
Vacation doesn’t have to be scary. It can be a wonderful way to continue progressing in your recovery and proving to yourself that you can do things you enjoy and visit new places while embracing a fulfilling lifestyle of sobriety. Crossroads can help you learn strategies and build the tools you need for lasting recovery. Don’t let addiction rule your life; take back control and remember who you wanted to be at Crossroads.Join the conversation on Facebook and let us know what strategies you use when going on vacation!