Your Ticket to Sober Travels
The holidays are over. The weather is cold. And many of you are probably planning a sunny vacation to shake the lingering winter blues.
Vacations are wonderful times to let loose, immerse in a new culture and rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit. But what do you do if sobriety is a priority? The options are simple. You could stay home – missing out and disengaging with the world. Not an option that I’d recommend. Never let your sobriety hold you back! It’s something that actually has the potential to open up the entire world to you.
So take the second option, book your sober-self on a journey and enjoy yourself!
Tips for Traveling and Maintaining Your Sobriety
Of course, you might be appropriately apprehensive. Whether you’re one week into sobriety or twenty years, maintaining a commitment to health is a daily decision. Continue to take things one day at a time as you proceed through your travels.
Below are some tips for achieving your goal:
- Tip #1 Be Deliberate
Set an intention before leaving. This is imperative. Know what you will and won’t do. Ambivalence does not travel well – it leaves you vulnerable and more likely to succumb to temptation. But if you take your mindful, determined self, then you will hold true to your intentions.
- Tip #2 Solidify Supports
Keep your support group close by – no matter how many miles are between you. If you have a sponsor, make sure to call them daily. Set up an international calling plan on your phone and make use of it. It’s money well spent. Daily communication is ideal, but if it’s really not practical, then try this. Take anything tangible with you from friends and family. Cards of support, notes with inspirational quotes, your personal journal and positive affirmations. These moments will serve as a useful reminder of how far you’ve come and what it means to those around you.
- Tip #3 Know Your Triggers
Acknowledging your temptations will go a long way in keeping you in control of your behaviors. If dancing till 3 a.m. triggers desire to drink or use drugs – then avoid it. Likewise, if you know that long days are exhausting and frequently met with an urge to pick up, then plan in daytime naps and make sure that you get plenty of rest. The idea isn’t to simply avoid the fun and celebrations, but make sure your honest with yourself and control the situations that you find yourself in. A little foresight will go a long way in helping you feel presents, involved and enjoying yourself!
- Tip #4 Immerse Yourself
Immerse yourself in passions that will distract you from any other temptations. Wherever you are, there is plenty to do. Find some great parks, museums, sporting events, and restaurants. Immerse in the culture to get the most out of your time and keep yourself busy.
- Tip #5 Rewards
Sticker charts are often used for children to reinforce good behavior. As an adult, you might not need stickers, but you can track your sobriety and plan a reward upon the return of your trip. This is an incentive to keep you motivated. It might seem simple, but it works! The reward can be something small like a new outfit, backpack for your next trip, jewelry or other luxury. While this can help you to feel good in the moment, remember that outfits go out of style, travel gear wears down, and jewelry fades. Most importantly, sticking to your resolution will reward you with a lasting sense of pride and accomplishment. Awareness that you met you goal and the good feelings that go along with that, will never wear and tear or fade away. Take pleasure in your achievement – you deserve it!
- Tip #6 Tell People
Give your travel buddies a heads-up that you are not drinking on this trip. Tell them how important it is to you that you maintain the sobriety you’ve worked so hard for. Even if you’ve just begun, there is no time like the present to start logging sober days. This is easy if you’re traveling with friends. If you’re in a group setting with strangers, then have no shame. Be up front so that people don’t pressure you.
Go With What Works for You
Those are a few tips, and I’m sure that you can come up with more that will work for you. And another thing to think about, if the above seems implausible at this point in your recovery, is booking a sober tour. Remember, sobriety does not need to hold you back – it should be opening doors!
You’re not alone in wanting to travel sober – there is even a new booming industry boasting sober tours to exotic locales with groups of new friends. The idea is to have fun and there’s the added benefit of everyone being on common ground with no drugs or alcohol.
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