Vacations are meant to be a relaxing, fun, rejuvenating time with family or friends. But for those newly in recovery it can be dangerous. Without proper planning you may be setting yourself up for trouble. People are known to let loose on vacation and it can be difficult watching others drink without impunity. The thought may cross our mind that we could just have one, after all we are on vacation too. If we have not planned and are not solid in our recovery we may not play the tape all the way through and remember the truth of what happens when we put substances in our bodies- we awaken the craving and compulsion for more.
Here are some strategies that I use when traveling, especially when traveling with people who drink.
1. You go on vacation, not your recovery!
Whatever pathway of recovery you implement be sure to plan to make it a part of your vacation days. If you attend meetings, look up the schedule for the area where you will be visiting. Plug the local intergroup office number into your phone. Locate the nearest resources to where you will be staying.
2. BYOB- Bring your own beverage!
When I am with a people who are celebrating I like to join. I don’t feel like I am missing out when I get to enjoy a special drink too. Mine just doesn’t include alcohol. When I am with a group of beer drinkers I usually will enjoy a bottle of ginger beer. It has become popular and you can find it at most grocery stores. If people are drinking cocktails I prepare my own. I either prepare a virgin of whatever everyone is enjoying or make my own. Thank you google search.
3. Strength in numbers!
Invite a friend in recovery on the vacation with you. You will have each other to lean on and support. If you cannot invite someone along set up an accountability person before you go. You can contact them daily while on your vacation and touch base.
4. Take your own transportation!
Be sure you are able to leave a situation if you need to. If you have transportation use it. If you do not plan for that as well. Are Ridesharing services available in the area? Can you take a cab? If there is a part of the vacation you know there will be drinking that may make you uncomfortable arrive late and leave early. Or, simply do not attend.
5. Find ways to be of service!
There is nothing that makes me consistently feel better then getting out of myself and finding ways to be helpful. Offer to do the grocery shopping, prepare meals, or clean up after. Put yourself in charge of the evenings entertainment. This will make the host happy and help make you feel a part of.
6. Practice Self-care!
Practice self-care before, during, and after the vacation. If I am able to enter a situation already relaxed and strong I am better suited to handle any given situation. Treat yourself during the vacation. Go for long walks, runs, or try a new yoga studio.
7. Open the lines of communication!
Have a conversation with your friends. Education them and explain where you are in your recovery. Family and friends who are not in recovery may feel uncomfortable themselves about being around a non-drinker. They may be concerned about wether they should drink around you, wondering if you would feel as though they were not being supportive.
Vacations and getaways are fun and should be enjoyed. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan you plan to fail so be sure to set yourself up for success!