7 Ways to Navigate Addiction Recovery While on Vacation
You probably learned early on that big changes to your routine can make it difficult to keep your addiction recovery goals. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stay locked behind closed doors until you’ve kicked a bad habit.
Traveling can be very good for your mental and physical health, helping to reduce stress, boost your motivation to make good choices, and return to the work week feeling rejuvenated. But you don’t want to make a mistake and derail your addiction recovery. Here are some things you can do to keep your goals while on vacation.
1. Choose a Good Destination
You can’t control everything when going on vacation, but you can control the destination. Try to choose a vacation spot that won’t make staying sober difficult. A party destination or a state that legalizes marijuana, for example, would make staying sober very difficult.
You might also consider a new popular trend in vacations: sober tours. These include retreats, safaris, sports, cruises, and other events where alcohol or addictive substances are not served. Consider a destination in this category when you plan your next trip.
2. Travel with Supportive People
Who you travel with is even more important than where you travel. People who understand and agree with your addiction recovery goals will help you maintain them, even when the going gets rough.
The last thing you need when you’re so far out of your element is others trying to convince you to break your goals, just this once. Those who don’t understand might try to convince you that one drink won’t hurt. But you know better, and you shouldn’t surround yourself with people who don’t while traveling.
3. Stay Connected
While unplugging and forsaking your normal life is usually the recommendation for travelers, you shouldn’t avoid contact with your daily life. Don’t turn off your phone and leave it in the hotel. Keep it with you, and use it when you’re feeling triggered.
Technology makes it easy to stick with your recovery goals, so use it. Your phone will keep you connected with your regular daily life, allowing you to stay in contact with your support group, use addiction recovery apps, and more.
4. Manage Your Triggers
Everyone has different triggers that can generate a relapse. Most are affected by sleepiness, hunger, anxiousness, loneliness, and other negative emotions. Just one spike of these emotions can trigger a relapse and derail your vacation and your hard work.
Know which triggers affect you most. Learn how to detect them early on and manage them before they manage you. Some of the best ways to manage triggers include doing something you love, contacting a supportive party, or removing yourself from the situation. Be ready to apply trigger-relieving tactics at a moment’s notice.
5. Be Prepared for an Emergency
Nothing can derail your addiction recovery goals as quickly as an emergency situation that puts you out of your element. You’re in an incredibly stressful situation, often one that’s beyond your control.
Be prepared to cope with any emergency. Your first inclination might be to revert to addictive behaviors, but you know that will only make things worse. Instead, practice deep-breathing exercises, mindfulness, humor, and other tactics that can help you reduce stress and gain some normalcy.
6. Take Care of Yourself
If you’ve found that exercise, good hygiene, and healthy eating help you maintain your addiction recovery goals, keep that up while you’re on vacation. Book a hotel with a gym, and make it a priority to take care of yourself while you’re there.
It’s also important to avoid eating too many unhealthy foods. It’s tempting when you’re on vacation to gobble up everything in sight, but make an effort to seek out fresh fruits and vegetables and whole foods. You’ll be grateful you took this extra step in the long run.
7. Get Back Into It When You Return
All of your efforts will be rewarded when you return home without fear of your addictions creeping back. However, it can easily put you off your path if you don’t maintain a regular routine when you return home.
One of the best ways to get back into your routine is never to break it in the first place. You might be in a new place, but you can still follow a similar schedule, make contact with your support group, take care of yourself, and more, even when you’re on vacation.