Sober Vacations: How to Travel and Maintain Sobriety

Jul 6, 2023 | Sobriety

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

sober vacations

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.

Going on an activity-packed adventure doesn’t have to be expensive. Grab your bike and pack a cold lunch and hit a new hiking or biking trail. Carry a camera (or use your phone) and capture the beautiful scenery on your excursion.

Longer ventures that involve inexpensive camping or glamping options within national parks or nature reserves are also good options. Convince a few supportive friends and/ or family will allow you to take advantage of any discount passes or housing costs should you, for example, rent an off-season beach house together.

Many times fascinating and low-priced are lurking around the nearest corner.

A staycation is a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions. There is a massive appeal to venturing out for local day trips and activities and being able to return home to your bed and bathroom every night.

You could take a week to meander all those by-streets in your hometown and visit local eateries and stores that catch your eye. Allow your curiosity to guide you and you can take in music concerts from local bands, enjoy catered food at opening-day events for new businesses, peruse for good books at your library, or even discover new hobbies and interests at a hobby shop nearby.

Those with a green thumb or interest in botany could get cracking on planting a new flower bed, starting a small vegetable patch, or start learning about crafting their very own bonsai tree or planting a window herb garden.

Many people don’t know very much about the state they live in and the local attractions to be found there. It could be extremely enjoyable to plan a different activity for random weekends throughout the year and tackle a different adventure.

For example, in Oregon, you could go hiking through the Columbia River Gorge, take a scenic drive through the McKenzie Pass and visit the Dee Wright Observatory, or visit Mt. Hood for some snowboarding and skiing fun.

Celebrating sobriety with friends and supportive family members is an amazing way to create lasting memories. Rent an RV and drive across the US and fill a scrapbook with photo memories of all the novelty attractions. Attend a comedy show in one of New York’s many underground comedy clubs. If you’re a space buff, visit the Space Center in Houston.

As long as your buddies are with you you’re bound to have immense fun, no matter where you end up or which activities you do.

Researching beforehand about the place you’re traveling to is a good way to immerse yourself in the experience and add purpose to your trip. Volunteering while you travel can allow you to gain a sense of fulfillment and purpose while helping others. Volunteering is also a great way to learn about local cultures and people.

Spending your money on local goods and businesses helps support and sustain local economies. You could also make contributions to nature reserves and national parks.

You don’t have to wait until retirement to answer the wanderlust inside you and seek adventure.

Where Can I Learn More About Vacationing Sober?

We here at Chapters Recovery Center are ready to help you learn more about sober vacations and how to plan and prepare for your time away. Exploring the world and creating unique memories while keeping a clear mind is achievable, sustainable, and rewarding.

Sober Vacations: A Fresh Start to a New Life at Chapters Recovery Center

Chapters Recovery Center offers a large selection of treatments that assist people in the recovery process from substance use as well as, mental illness. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to treatment and addiction therapy. Our large selection of both holistic and evidence-based treatments helps us to custom-tailor the recovery process for every client that walks through our doors.

Contact us with any questions you may have or even if you are seeking more information. Our dedicated team is here to assist you to start the next chapter of your life.

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