Warm summer days are often associated with special, relaxing times. Many people get vacation time…
How to Keep Your Sobriety Intact During Summer Travel
During the summer, there is a good chance that you might take a short trip or vacation away from home. Whether you’re heading to the beach, a lake or a historic destination, you’re probably excited to be able to have a change in your daily routine. You’ll get to have time off from your job and you’ll be able to spend extra time with family or friends, appreciating the sights or just enjoying some rest and relaxation in the sun.
As a recovering addict or alcoholic, it’s important not to forget that trips away from home and summer get-togethers can trigger the urge to drink or drug. For one thing, vacation destinations often use alcohol as part of their attractions. You will be faced with people encouraging you to drink on airplanes, in airports, in restaurants and in hotels. If you’re seeing family or friends whom you used to drink or drug with, it may be uncomfortable to try to socialize sober. How can you stay sober during summer travel?
When you know that you are getting ready to spend time away from home, plan ahead to have some tools available that will remind you that staying sober is the top priority in your life. In your suitcase, pack some recovery literature or meditation books. Bring your journal so you can continue to write about any feelings you have during your trip that need to be sorted out. Make a plan to participate in sober activities on your trip. Try something new that you have never tried before that doesn’t require drinking. Enjoy activities such as canoeing, swimming or bike riding, and embrace your ability to participate in reality without mind-altering chemicals.
Try to plan ahead to be able to participate in meetings while you are away from home. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are most likely listed in the phone book, or the hotel desk may have a list of local meetings. If you can’t physically get to a meeting in the new location, you may be able to find an online meeting or an online recovery forum, or you may be able to listen to an audio of a recovering person sharing his or her experience, strength and hope.
One of the most important things to bring with you is a way to stay connected to people in your support network. Try to stay in contact with your sponsor or other friends in recovery through phone calls, texts or emails. Check in daily if you can to report that you are doing OK. Touching base with those who know you well will remind you that staying sober is a priority.
This is especially important if you are going to any kind of gathering where other people will be drinking or drugging. Being able to talk to another sober person on the phone when you’re faced with temptation will remind you that you are not alone in your recovery journey. This regular contact with sober friends may save your sobriety.
Keep It Simple
Summer vacation should be fun and enjoyable, and as you travel, remember that the same things that keep you sober at home will keep you sober on the road. The slogans are great reminders that can help you simplify life when it is starting to get overwhelming or uncomfortable.
The thought may cross your mind that if you pick up a drink while you are far from home, no one would know. But you would know. If you do that, it will be a lot harder to get back on track than you think. It isn’t worth it to dabble in drinking small amounts. It’s much easier to stay sober than it is to get sober all over again.
Remember to approach your vacation the way you approach the rest of your life. You only have to get through one day at a time without picking up a drink or a drug. Enjoy your vacation, but remember that any temptation you are feeling while you are away from home is temporary. Before you know it, you will be back home in your normal routine and surrounded by the people in your support group.