When an addict gets out of their comfort zone, it can cause anxiety and uneasiness due to not knowing what to expect. Taking a vacation can definitely a time of out of comfort zone. Most addicts are not use to this concept. They have used all there money for other things and a vacation was just not on a priority list.
Things begin to change the longer we are in recovery though. Addicts get jobs that have vacation time, they reunite with their families and want to spend quality time together. Vacations are what normal people do.
The thought of summer beaches or amusement parks can be a trigger if there is history in active addiction doing these same acts. There are many things to put in place before starting a vacation. I will list them and feel free to write in and add some more that helped you when going away.
THE DO’S OF VACATION:
First off, pick the destination that is inclusive of your recovery. That means maybe there is a meeting close by. A place that does not have alcohol all around you. Look at the area online and the reviews. Make sure it isn’t going to trigger you.
Also, make sure your basic needs are covered. Eat healthy & regularly, exercise, & get a full 8-hours of sleep. Take alone-time when you need it & monitor your energy levels & moods, to stay healthy, active, & balanced. We tend to go backwards when we lack the basic needs. This will your help physical condition maintain homeostasis which will help your mental stability as well.
Make sure boundaries are known before you even head out on vacation with others. The people going should desire to keep you on the right track. Also, have several support people on speed dial in case you need to reach them. They should already be on your phone. Be aware of new people you get in contact with while you are gone. Make sure they are positive.
Plan your day with sober activities and treat yourself with healthy options. Exploring a new place can be positive. Maybe a spa day. Shopping the town stores or walk on the beach. Some like to just rest in the hotel and watch TV. Whatever the activity, it should promote well-being and happiness.
Finally, know that temptation is everywhere and there is no such thing as a perfect vacation. Just because you are not in your neighborhood does not mean you will not be tested. Keep an open mind about your surroundings.
The Don’ts of Vacation:
As said above, things get better the longer you are in recovery. It may not be a good idea to go away somewhere when you are new to recovering addicts. We are anxious, not sure of ourselves, and struggle with things in our area with the ability to meet a mentor/sponsor, etc. So. my suggestion is to stay close to recovery tools when young in recovery.
And as above, don’t get tired, hungry, etc. Stay hydrated and eat well while on vacation. Plenty of rest and find the closest meeting and may need to go to it a time or two. Bottom line, you cannot avoid your recovery. It has to be the most important thing in your life.
Watch yourself for clues of stress, anxiety, anger, or being tired. Maybe you need to take a nap, or read some literature. There are options to plug into. Relapse is not one of them. Just know it only takes one time to be back out in active addiction for however long.
Don’t be afraid to say NO. If you feel you may be put in a tempting situation, distance yourself from the people you are traveling with or find a way to spend your time that doesn’t involve substances. You are strong enough to pull through. Remember you are a recovering addict and have made it thus far. You have a changed life and now are able to spend good, quality time with the people you love. What a miracle of life. I know I am grateful for the ability to go and enjoy other areas.
I wish you all a safe a blessed traveling experience.