Travel is an enriching, stimulating experience that shouldn’t be stunted due to sobriety. Luckily, most people reap much greater benefits when they actually have the mental clarity to enjoy their trip.
That said, the idea of navigating travels while sober may seem daunting, tedious, or downright impossible. You’re disrupted from your routine, and a fresh host of triggers may be waiting for you. Let’s explore some tips for success.
Consider The Location
Are you still narrowing down your destination choices? Location can play a large role in either motivating- or challenging- your recovery. In the beginning stages of sobriety, it may be best to avoid trips that you’ve done in the past. If you’ve associated those travels with drugs or alcohol, it may feel very difficult to avoid those associations upon your arrival.
Likewise, some types of travel are inherently more ‘party-focused’ (i.e., weekend cruises, all-inclusive resorts). Consider choosing places with more healthier, holistic focuses.
Stay Connected With Support
While it may seem tantalizing to go ‘completely off-the-grid,’ our wanderlust for WiFI and social media often prohibits that fantasy. Don’t delude yourself. A large part of successful recovery lies in the connection and accountability held with others.
If you regularly attend meetings at home, consider squeezing in a few meetings on your trip. This requires some planning ahead, but it may be an essential component of your recovery. While the support may feel like overkill, an hour-long meeting or a brief phone call with a peer back home is much better than dealing with the insidious clutches of a relapse.
Aim To Keep Some Routine
While travel is all about novelty and living outside of your comfort zone, following some normal regimens can help you stay grounded. For example, if you usually wake up around 7:00 each morning to meditate and then eat breakfast, consider sticking with that plan.
Ideally, you want to strike a balance between staying comfortable with yourself while also enjoying and embracing new experiences. Aim to avoid jam-packing your days with nonstop activities, and also try to prevent yourself from being faced with large blocks of idle hours.
Take Care Of Your Emotions
Yes, travel can be fun, but it can also be exhausting and stressful. You’re in a new place figuring out new things, and you’re removed from the daily comforts that home brings.
Remember to practice self-care and check in with yourself regularly. Are you following a nutritious diet? Exercising? Getting enough sleep?
While most people deviate from their normal routines while traveling, it is essential that you avoid straying too far from taking care of your needs.
Maintain Your Boundaries
Travel can provoke awkward and difficult interpersonal situations. Whether you’re traveling with close friends, family members, or your significant other, it’s common to find yourself getting irritated or annoyed with your travel partners. After all, you’re spending all day with them!
Do your best to stay firm with your boundaries. If a conflict arises, aim to stay calm and collected. Try to avoid letting smaller issues explode into larger ones. Finally, respect yourself enough to spend some time alone if you must- there’s no shame in having to recharge your emotional batteries.
Stopping your drug or alcohol use shouldn’t mean stopping the adventures. Seeing and experiencing the world sober can life-changing! Take care of yourself along the way, be mindful of how you need to handle stress, and have fun!
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