How a Summer Vacation Can Boost Your Recovery

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As summer is approaching, you may be realizing that there are many things you aren’t ready to do yet, such as attend summer barbecues, picnics or holiday parties. This realization can be upsetting at times, especially when it feels like everyone else is having fun and living their lives.

One topic of conversation that comes up quite frequently at this time of the year is vacationing. Between modest camping trips, weekend getaways or luxury cruises, it’s hard to ignore the traveling that comes with summertime. At first thought, you may think that you can’t enjoy a vacation. After all, many vacations are centered around alcohol, so traveling can feel completely out of reach. But, the opposite can be true.

Taking a vacation is something very attainable for recovering addicts, and it may actually be conducive to your recovery. Just as summer does not have to be about parties, drinking and risky behavior, vacations do not have to be counterproductive to a healthy recovery. As long as you adjust your mindset accordingly, plan ahead and go with people that are supportive of your recovery, a vacation may be just the thing to brighten your summer – and your spirits.

Some benefits of going on vacation include :

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve mental health
  • Refresh your attitude
  • Boost your creativity
  • Reconnect with loved ones
  • Strengthen your spirituality
  • Spend time in Mother Nature
  • Try new activities like fishing, hiking or surfing

You can’t predict every temptation that will come your way, but you can safeguard your travels and have strategies for how you plan to deal with the stress that comes with being in a new environment. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Choose Sober Places and Activities 

Popular travel destinations will have more people, more parties and more alcohol, which can lead to more temptation. Look at less conventional places to travel to where the crowds will be smaller and alcohol won’t be the focus. Don’t forget to check out the many sober cruises, retreats and vacations that are available. A quick search online will pull up dozens of results, and you can match your interests with what’s available.

If you’re having trouble deciding on a destination, you may have more luck searching for things to do. Sailing expeditions, ski getaways, safaris and golf and yoga retreats are just some of the activities you can plan your vacation around. These activities are not centered around alcohol, so you can expect a more supportive community.

Stick to a Healthy Schedule

You know how important it is to stick to a healthy routine, so don’t fall back on it when you’re traveling. Continue with your same schedule by eating healthy foods, staying hydrated and well rested and making time for yoga or journaling. It’s a good idea to plan ahead so that you don’t have too much downtime during your travels which could lead to temptation.

Select Travel Partners Carefully

Travel with people who are responsible. These may be the people who have supported your recovery, or they may be members from your support groups. Either way, in order for you to be accountable, you should choose travel partners that will enjoy similar activities as you and won’t feel a need to drink or use drugs.

Research Local Support Groups

Just as you research hotels, flights and things to do, you should also research support groups in your area. There are smartphone apps available to help you locate nearby meetings, and participating in them will remind you of your goals and help you stay on track. It’s also a smart idea to bring along the phone numbers of a few trusted mentors or friends who can offer valuable support should you need it.

Minimize Stress

In order to plan a vacation that will bring you relaxation and enjoyment, you must be honest about what you can handle. Catching a flight, dealing with lost luggage and paying the high cost of a hotel may be too stressful right now. Arrange for a trip that is low stress, and plan ahead as much as possible. Adopt a ‘go with the flow’ attitude for the trip.

Recovery is hard work, but don’t forget to reward yourself along the way. A vacation may be well-deserved, and by choosing a sober environment, supportive friends and wholesome activities, you can create a memorable experience for the right reasons.