Sober Vacation: Plan Ahead to Avoid Relapse During Recovery

Vacations are certainly different when we’re sober; in some ways, they’re even better. Prior to addiction recovery, many addicts have vacations that include partying hard for one night (which they probably won’t remember), then spending the next several days nursing a hangover. (What’s worse than a hangover? Having to fly on a plane while you have a hangover.)

Planning ahead for your vacation can help you avoid falling into traps.

Routines are key for addiction recovery – and yet, the very point of a vacation is to shake up your daily routine. With all the changes in your schedule while you are traveling, how are you supposed to continue your sober path while on vacation? It’s a vacation, after all… Aren’t you supposed to drink?

A sober vacation looks much different than this scenario. Instead, you might find yourself snorkeling in the ocean, exploring ancient ruins in another country, or relaxing by a fireplace while catching up on a good book. Best of all, you’ll be fully present and aware for all of it. You’ll remember your whole vacation, and you won’t be sick or hungover during any part of it. It’s simply not worth risking all of this joy, even for one teensy “little” drink.

Planning a vacation while in addiction recovery is simple. It really just comes down to knowing what to avoid. For recovering addicts and alcoholics, an obvious red flag is the presence of alcohol. While these things are more easily avoided at home, it can be tricky to avoid them completely while you are vacationing – especially if you’re visiting a new or unfamiliar place.

Another way to (hopefully) avoid relapse during your upcoming vacation is by carefully choosing your vacation activities. For instance, a yoga or meditation retreat will almost always be alcohol-free, and both of these activities – alone or apart – can be a boost to your mental health in sobriety. You can also look into vacation groups and specific vacation retreats that are available for newly-sober individuals like yourself. A simple Google search brings up a variety of Meetup groups, travel groups, and vacation planners specializing in retreats, resorts, sober travel, and getaways for those who are in addiction recovery.

If you’re looking for budget-friendly options and can’t afford an all-inclusive vacation, you’re in luck. Many travel websites now offer a “build-your-own sober vacation” package where you can pick a la carte activities while bundling your hotel and airfare for added savings. The Buzzfeed community also recently created this budget-friendly list. Many of the affordable options are appropriate for those who are living in sobriety and seeking an alcohol-free vacation.

If you haven’t noticed by now, planning a sober vacation doesn’t mean you have to plan a boring vacation – and it also doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. With some proactive planning on your part, and a little creative thinking, you’ll be able to plan your dream vacation – without the risks of relapsing. You’ll come home with your sobriety intact, along with new memories that will last you a lifetime.

This post was written for Revive Christian Counseling by Adam Cook of Addiction Hub, an online resource for addicts and those in recovery, as well as their families.

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