Setting out on vacation or traveling and adventuring without being under the influence of alcohol or drugs may sound like a snooze-fest and appear daunting. Still, it is achievable and can have its rewards. There is a misconception that someone following a 12-Step Program must abstain from any fun activities whatsoever. This is not true.
Sober vacationing is increasing rapidly in popularity. These vacations draw away from the norm of nightclubs, bars, and drinking joints and incorporate such outdoor activities as biking tours, nature walks (or city walks), visiting museums, seeing historical sites, basking on sun-drenched beaches, and more.
Another popular activity is to take a ‘sober cruise’ where participants enjoy all of the amenities and fun offered by a cruise ship without partaking in alcohol or drug use.
Commitment to sobriety before, during, and after the trip is the most important aspect of a sober vacation. You may find that the most opportune time to plan a sober vacation is after you have been able to remain in recovery for a stable period. This can help you be able to relax and truly have fun on your vacation.
Chapters Recovery Center in Danvers, Massachusetts can help you manage your sobriety effectively, and break the cycle of addiction.
Can You Take a Truly Sober Vacation?
The short answer, of course. Nothing is stopping you from heading out of the house and launching straight into that fun-filled dream trip you’ve always had your mind on. People more often than not travel and take vacations with others. Whether you set out alone or with family or even a group of your friends, vacationing without risking setting off substance and alcohol use triggers is achievable.
What Are Vacation Triggers?
Vacation triggers are events or factors that can lead to or further aggravate undesirable traits, conduct, or cravings during a vacation. Though such triggers are usually associated with drinking alcohol or the use of drugs, they can also be affiliated with mental health struggles or other addictive behaviors.
- Social pressure: Influence from friends and acquaintances to fit in by taking part in addictive behaviors or drinking.
- Stress relief: Dealing with the strain of everyday life or anxiety that is travel related by using alcohol and/ or drugs as a coping mechanism.
- Boredom: Passing the downtime or slow moments by turning to various vices or imbibing alcohol.
- Novelty and accessibility: Temptations to explore new experiences as well as the ready availability of alcohol in various social settings.
- Habit and routine: Falling into a familiar routine of drug and alcohol use or other vices, even while vacationing.
- Emotional provocation: Substance abuse and addictive behaviors can stem from emotional and mental struggles such as depression, and types of anxiety.
- Sensory triggers: Sounds, smells, sights, or sensations that bring up memories of past times spent using substances or engaging in vices.
What Can I Do to Avoid Triggers?
Identify your triggers. Knowing your triggers makes the process of filtering them out easier. Anxiety and drinking triggers can be different for everyone. Some common triggers include fear of flying, fear of being away from home, fear of the unknown, and fear of getting lost, among others.
Plan for certain scenarios. Pre-travel anxiety a lot of times is elevated by worrying about everything that could go wrong while traveling. To reduce this anxiety and stress, you could do some preemptive problem-solving. For example, you could make sure you carry a portable GPS or map of the areas you’ll be visiting to avoid any fears of getting lost.
Plan for responsibilities at home while you’re away. Planning for problem-solving at home before embarking on your journey goes a long way toward mitigating the fear of something going wrong. For example, if you have pets you could arrange for a pet sitter or house sitter.
Carry plenty of distractions. Books, music, sketch pads, puzzles, etc., are all good items that can help you relax and take your mind off of any traveling anxieties. Binaural beats have also, in some cases, helped
Practice relaxation techniques. Meditation and other relaxing techniques are tried and tested methods of reducing anxiety symptoms and other pressures.
Travel with friends or family who are supportive and can help you avoid triggers.
Find the positives in traveling. Traveling can be a harrowing and stressful undertaking, but it can also be a great gateway to new experiences and lasting memories. Focusing on the positive aspects of traveling can help you overcome any negative feelings that could trigger you.
Sobriety Isn’t Boring
A life of sobriety may seem like an immensely daunting task to people just starting. There is often the prevailing attitude that abstaining from certain vices and behaviors will dim the fun factor and make one miss out on many of life’s pleasures. Some people may feel that they miss the spontaneity and courage brought on by drinking alcohol. Others may feel FOMO (fear of missing out) when they abstain from joining friends or family for activities involving drinking or substance use.
Choosing sobriety can be a difficult but ultimately rewarding decision. Vacations can alleviate stress, boost productivity and help make you more creative. Sobriety can open up more time in your schedule to pursue your hobbies and interests and live a more fulfilling life. Taking out time for your self-care and well-being can make maintaining sobriety easier.
Places to Go on a Sober Vacation
Vacation, and enjoying yourself doesn’t always have to be about drinking. This often leads to areas that tourists frequent being packed full of influences and circumstances that could trigger someone to indulge in destructive behavior and vices. However, there are very many locations you could visit and explore and partake in activities that can support your sobriety journey.
Sober Activities to Do on a Vacation This Summer
There are many interesting and fun adventures you can participate in while on vacation that don’t require you to drink alcohol or partake in addictive behaviors.
- Take a bicycling or walking tour of the city or town you’re visiting.
- Visit the local artisan markets for arts and goods.
- Attend local music festivals or celebrations.
- Try out sun and sand activities such as surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, or local sailing.
- Go on a road trip and explore different towns and villages.
- Visit museums and take an art or sculpting class.
- Visit a national park and take a camping or glamping trip.
Ideas for a Sober Vacation
Discover your hidden, deep interests and passions and you’ll have the foundation for an extraordinary vacation experience.