June 10, 2021

Planning a Vacation While in Recovery

For some, even the act of planning a vacation or getaway can elevate their mood. If you’re in the early days of a recovery journey, though, you may be struggling with the idea of a vacation because you worry about the risk of relapse.

Here are a few tips to help you travel confidently while supporting your recovery.

1.    Stay close and start small

Before planning along-distance vacation that will take you away from your support system for a considerable amount of time, test the waters by traveling closer to home first: Spend one night away at a time to gauge your readiness. Long-distance or international destinations will still be there when you feel confident enough in your recovery journey to self-manage in high-risk situations.  

2.    Choose vacation locations carefully

When you’re ready to travel farther afield or for an extended vacation—especially a destination you’ve never visited before—start by doing your research. You’re stepping out of your comfort zone, so if you still struggle with temptation, choose locations that won’t expose you to high-risk situations. This may involve asking the resort or hotel management to remove alcohol from the mini-bar in your room, selecting accommodations without a bar and avoiding activities or venues that may trigger old patterns of behavior or thinking.  

3.    Stay connected with your support system

While the purpose of a vacation for many people is to escape their regular lives, as an individual in recovery, you shouldn’t disconnect from your support systems like family, friends, therapists or sober companions. When planning your trip, make sure to let them know your travel destination and how to contact you. You may even let them know that you intend to check in regularly while you’re away.

4.    Set healthy and realistic boundaries  

Boundaries help you stay aligned with your recovery goals—at home and away from home. When you’re on vacation, it can be easy to feel so carefree that you momentarily forget your responsibilities. You may meet many new people who don’t know your story, and they may offer you alcohol or a substance or invite you somewhere that exposes you to temptation. Say no when you know you’ll find yourself in a bad situation. Stand by your values and respectfully state your feelings.

5.    Practice self-care

Caring for yourself and prioritizing your physical and emotional well-being while on vacation can help you avoid relapse triggers. Have fun and stay engaged, but not to the extent of exhausting yourself. If you’ve been eating a special diet that aligns with your recovery journey, try not to deviate from it just because you’re on vacation. Only participate in activities that make you happy and don’t put your mental health at risk.

Communicare is here to help with more tips on how to navigate through recovery. Please take a look at our services and don’t hesitate to contact us! You can call our 24-hourCrisis Line at any time for mental health emergencies.