How to Avoid Relapse While on Vacation

Everyone deserves a break, even those recovering from addiction. As you unwind and relax, it’s important to hold on to all the progress you’ve made during your recovery journey. Depending on where you go, you may be faced with temptation and old triggers that could lead to a relapse.

Safeguarding your sobriety is of paramount importance. From travel-related stress to being far from your support network, keep these factors and tips in mind to help you avoid relapse while on vacation.

Why Is It Harder to Avoid Relapse While Traveling?

Throughout your rehabilitation treatment, you learned about your individual triggers. These stressors are one part of why addicts sometimes relapse. But travel is a different beast altogether. It creates a situation that disrupts your routine, regular support system and the daily regimen you’ve created during your recovery process — which can be a trigger for relapse.

Before heading out, meet with your sponsor or counselor to review your triggers to look out for. While vacationing, pay attention to HALT — never become too hungry, angry, lonely or tired.

10 Tips to Stay Sober on Vacation

While enjoying your vacation, you may be overwhelmed with a desire to fall back into your addictive behaviors. With a little foresight and planning, you’ll be able to manage any vacation-related stress without resorting to substance abuse.

Here are 10 tips that can help you avoid relapse and stay sober while traveling on vacation:

  1. Search out the unusual: Instead of falling in with the other tourists, seek out lesser-known sites to explore. It will help you stay away from temptation and feel the excitement of learning about the local culture.
  2. Avoid all-inclusive vacations: While these package deals tend to be cheaper, they often include meals and drinks in the price, which could act as a trigger.
  3. Have your room cleared: If you’re staying in a hotel, call ahead and ask that all alcoholic beverages be removed from your room.
  4. Keep to your routine: As much as you can, try to stick to your usual routine. Have breakfast, workout, meditate. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you’re vacationing from your recovery.
  5. Savor the regional food scene: Invigorate your senses by filling up on all the local delicacies, so you feel full and satisfied.
  6. Find alternative nighttime adventures: Instead of hitting up a bar or club, get creative. Find a local theatre venue and take in a play. Or try out some paddle boarding or kayaking under the stars. Even a stroll on the beach at night will offer an enjoyable excursion.
  7. Take a sober vacation buddy: By bringing along someone who appreciates your recovery process, you won’t have to worry about being shuffled from pub to pub.
  8. Keep reminders of your sobriety nearby: Take some recovery literature or audiobooks to encourage you if you find yourself struggling.
  9. Stay in touch with your support network: Either by phone or email, be sure to keep in contact with your sponsor or support group. You can also find local meetings near where you’ll be visiting if an emergency arises.
  10. Enjoy yourself: There are so many things to do on vacation instead of giving in to the desire to use drugs or alcohol. Being sober will revitalize you so you can fully appreciate this fun, fascinating adventure.

Places to Go for a Sober Vacation

Instead of choosing a vacation spot littered with bars and other opportunities that may lead to relapse, here are a few places that are more recovery-friendly:

  • Seaside vacation destinations during the off-season
  • Child-friendly areas like amusement parks
  • The great outdoors
  • Monuments and cultural attractions
  • Heritage sites
  • Thrill-seeking adventures
  • Spas

Stay in Touch Throughout Your Recovery Journey

Taking a sober vacation is a huge step in your recovery process, and you should be proud that you feel up for it. If you’re alumni with Gateway Foundation, your treatment may have ended, but we are still here for you during your recovery journey. We welcome you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about life after treatment. Call us today at 877.379.9078.

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