Going on vacation when you’re in recovery can make you feel like a soldier lost in enemy territory. You’re surrounded by danger on every side and dependent on your wits and willpower to keep you safe. That’s the bad news. The good news is that taking time off need not remind you of going into a war zone. You can avoid temptation and still have the time of your life by using the following tips.
Choose Your Surroundings
Any military officer will tell you that success in battle comes down to choosing the right terrain. The same is true of your efforts to beat addiction. There are some places you just don’t belong, simple as that (Vegas comes to mind). You still have plenty of great destination options, however Here are some examples:
- State and national parks, historic sites, and cultural venues have plenty of fun activities that don’t involve drugs or alcohol, according to information from the Travel Channel. These are especially good choices if you’re an active person or if you simply enjoy learning new things. An added benefit is that you’ll find plenty of budget-friendly options by going this route.
- A growing number of travel services are offering vacation packages geared towards people in recovery, according to the Boston Globe. This is a great way to meet people who can identify with your challenges in a safe, mutually supportive environment.
- Many cruise lines offer on board meetings for members of AA and similar organizations. You can learn more about these options online or by contacting the companies directly.
Choose Your Companions
In combat, soldiers rely on their comrades in arms to watch their backs and help them to repel enemy attacks. Your battle against addiction is similar to a military campaign. So enlist some trusted companions to help you along the way. Here’s how to do so:
- Stick with people you enjoy being around. This may sound like a rather obvious bit of advice. But think of it this way: alcohol and drugs act like a set of psychological blinders, creating a false sense of friendship among users. Staying away from addictive substances helps you to see those around you as they really are. So why force yourself to deal with unlikable people? That’s exactly the kind of stress that can drive you toward relapse. So choose your friends with care, especially if you plan to go on vacation with them.
- Have a way to contact your sponsor during your trip. Being able to lean on her support and encouragement can make all the difference to how your trip turns out.
- Tell anyone you meet during the trip that you want nothing to do with alcohol or illicit drugs. Establishing the ground rules upfront will help to screen out those who could pull you off the wagon.
Choose Your Attitude
Selecting your destination and your companions is essential to sobriety success. However, you can still find yourself in danger of relapse if your own outlook is out of whack. So prepare yourself internally as well as externally for your trip by following these suggestions:
- Make a schedule and keep with it. The less time you spend with nothing to do, the more you shield yourself from unhealthy temptations.
- Socialize in a positive, assertive way that tells others you’re interested in enjoying yourself but not in abusing drugs or alcohol. If this turn some people off, then so be it. You’re better off without them in your life.
- Help others to stay sober by refusing to enable their addictions. You may find yourself approached by minors or addicts asking you to help them obtain alcohol or drugs. It’s important to refuse these requests in a firm but respectful way.
Nobody ever said addiction recovery is easy. Staying clean requires eternal vigilance on your part. Using the tips in this post will help you to win the battle, not only when you’re on vacation but for the rest of your life.