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‍People who are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction often have trouble finding opportunities to take a vacation. They might not have the money to travel, or they may not have friends or family members who are willing to accommodate their sobriety. If you’re someone in recovery and you’ve been diligently working on your sobriety for some time now, perhaps you feel like taking a vacation would be a reward for all your hard work.

Going on vacation can be a wonderful way to take your mind off of stressors at home, meet new people, and get rejuvenated. However, it may seem difficult to take a vacation as someone in recovery from drugs or alcohol, but there are plenty of ways that you can enjoy a great vacation while maintaining your sobriety.

Create a Safe Environment

Before you go on vacation, figure out how you’re going to create a safe environment for yourself on your trip. First, try to stay in a place that’s free from triggers that could cause you to engage in addictive behaviors. If you’re traveling with friends or family members who are not in recovery, you may need to be more discreet about your sobriety, especially if you’re staying in someone else’s house.

In this case, it might be helpful to have a separate bedroom to avoid uncomfortable interactions that inevitably devolve into binge drinking. You may also want to avoid booking a flight with a long layover at an airport, as airports are notorious for triggering relapse. If you’re going on a cruise, be careful to avoid invitations to drink. A cruise is a great vacation for people in recovery thanks to the controlled environment and regular activities.

Plan Your Trip in Advance

When you’re planning your trip, decide how long you’re going to be away, where you’re going, and when you’re going to be there. This will help you to stay focused on the positive aspects of your trip and avoid getting stressed out about planning your vacation. If you’re going on a cruise or another trip where you won’t have a lot of control over your itinerary, you might need to adjust your expectations on what you’ll get out of your trip.

For example, you may want to go on a cruise to visit Hawaii, but if your cruise only passes through Hawaii on the way back to your port, you might not get much time to explore. You may also want to stay away from cruises that have a lot of drinking on board, as this can make it difficult to stay sober.

Find an Accountability Partner

An accountability partner is someone who you trust to keep you honest on your trip. This person can help you to avoid slipping up or triggering during your vacation by reminding you to avoid risky situations. Depending on the length of your trip, you might want to rotate different sober friends or family members as your accountability partners.

Before you leave, let your accountability partners know what you want them to look out for while you’re gone. This can include warning you about people who may be trying to pressure you into drinking or inviting you places where drinking is happening. If you’re not traveling with friends or family members, consider joining an online support group in order to find an accountability partner.

Take a Group Meeting With You

If you attend a 12-step meeting regularly, you may want to take a group meeting with you on vacation. You can take your meeting with you wherever you go, and it can act as a reminder of why you’re maintaining your sobriety. If your regular meeting is on a weekday, you might want to consider arranging an online meeting if you will be gone for an extended period of time. This can help you to maintain your connection to the group and get the benefits of attending a regular meeting even when you’re far from home.

Go to an Escorted Tour or Seminar

Many rehab centers offer excursions that are designed for people in recovery. These trips are usually chaperoned and include activities like yoga, meditation, kayaking, and surfing. You might be able to arrange for a trip like this if you’re going to be attending a conference or seminar. You can also look for sober events in your area to attend while on vacation. These events can offer you a chance to socialize with people in recovery and build your support network.

Plan activities that don’t involve drinking

If you’re traveling with other people in recovery, you might want to plan some sober activities to do together. You can take yoga or meditation classes together, go to a museum, or even play board games or other sports. Even if you’re not traveling with other sober people, you can still try to avoid triggering situations by planning sober activities. Planning activities that don’t involve drinking can be helpful if you’ve been struggling with alcohol cravings while you’re on vacation. You may want to stay away from activities that have a lot of drinking involved, such as bar crawls and clubbing.

Travel to a destination with your support network

If you’re having trouble finding a vacation spot that’s conducive to sobriety, consider traveling to a destination with people in your support network. You can plan a sober vacation with a group of people that you trust and that is familiar with your situation, and you can share the costs of the trip among everyone. You can plan a sober vacation in any destination that interests you. You can choose to travel to a city where you can avoid triggers or you can visit a place that has plenty of sober activities.

Build a Social Support System at Design for Recovery Sober Living

If you’re struggling to find sobriety-friendly vacation options, consider moving into a sober living house. A sober living house is a shared living environment where you’ll live with other people in recovery and have access to support and socialization opportunities. At a sober living house, you can build a social network of fellow sober friends, participate in sober activities, and attend regular AA or NA meetings.

If you’re looking for a great place to live in sobriety, be sure to apply for a room at Design for Recovery’s sober living houses in Los Angeles. At Design for Recovery, we specialize in helping people in recovery find a great home and community. Your new home away from home is not only a great place to pursue recovery, but it will even feel in many ways like a vacation.

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Edited by: David Beasley

David Beasley - Design for Recovery

RADT
David Beasley is a certified RADT (Registered Alcohol/Drug Technician). David, moved to California from North Carolina after many failed attempts to get sober.

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen
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LMFT
Charley earned his Masters of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).He teaches mindfulness to both adults and children in group setting such as schools, corporate workplaces, and medical treatment facilities.

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