One of life’s great, underrated pleasures is solo travel – a chance to take the initiative, plan your perfect trip on your own terms, and prove to yourself that you have what it takes to spend time with the best company (yourself). That’s not to knock trips with friends and family, which are rewarding as well, but there’s something about traveling alone that really helps you reconnect with yourself. Of course, this goes double for those in addiction recovery – but there are some challenges if you want to travel solo. Here are some tips for planning a great solo sober trip.
Make sure you avoid your triggers
Everyone in addiction recovery has their own set of triggers, and when you’re planning your vacation it’s best to avoid locations and situations where you may be tempted to relapse. You may want to avoid a resort that is alcohol-centric, perhaps. Thinking about going to Las Vegas? Maybe head to the Grand Canyon instead. Don’t put yourself in tough situations from the get-go. Plan a trip that you know you’ll be able to succeed on.
If you need help, don’t hesitate to make use of organizations that help book sober vacations. “A handy tip to know is that the travel website Expedia offers the ability to search for sober destinations. You can filter their vacation packages to search for ones that are sober friendly,” says AddictionUnscripted.com
Know how to find help if you need it
Being alone in a strange city or even another country can be lonely at times. You’re in recovery, so you’re definitely strong, but even the strongest people battle temptations – especially when they are in a “vacation” mode.
Do not go off the grid. While you’re on vacation, make sure that you stay in contact with your family, friends and sponsor. Not only will this help if you find yourself in a rough place, but it will prevent your loved ones from worrying about you the whole time.
Just because you’re away from home it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on meetings.
“Wherever you travel to, virtually anywhere in the world, including on most cruise ships, there are Twelve Step fellowship meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Check online for local meetings in the country or town you are visiting. And go.
Prepare for vacation stress
At home, you’re used to a certain type and certain level of stress that comes with addiction recovery. You’ve learned how to manage this specific stress, whether it be work stress, family stress, or relationship stress. Vacation can be stressful in an entirely foreign way, as you’re forced out of your safe environment and exposed to new experiences.
Take the time to bring your daily stress relief practices with you. Don’t skip out on your exercise, meditation, yoga, or whatever it is you do to reduce stress just because you’re on a trip. It is vacation, so you’ll want to splurge a bit, but try to eat at least one healthy meal per day. You might also want to consider bringing your four-legged friend along. Dogs are natural mood boosters and stress relievers, and having your pup along for the ride will give you something else to focus on if any negative thoughts or feelings pop up.
While some may say there is strength in numbers when it comes to traveling during recovery, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to venture out on a solo sober trip. As long as you stay tethered to your support structure and your routine, you should be able to pass this one of many tests with flying colors