Guest Blogger | The Spencers Adventures
Who said sobriety has to be boring? Sober travel provides a wonderful avenue for self-healing and reflection, especially for those in addiction recovery.
Embarking on a big trip gives you an opportunity to create new and beautiful sober memories, helping you to untangle lingering associations between ‘fun’ and drug or alcohol use — and escape the frenzy of everyday life.
Read on for tips and tricks for planning a fabulous sober vacation.
Sober travel locations
When it comes to sober travel, success depends on location, location, location – and a little planning.
Whilst few destinations will be completely alcohol free, there are certainly places that will give you freedom from alcohol triggers, like these meditation retreats. You can speak to your host about your sobriety needs and receive the right support on your holiday.
You may also like these Top 10 Healing Vacations.
One essential part of living in recovery is recognising and reducing environmental triggers. Remember that ‘triggers’ can be places, activities, and even people. So before you book that flight to the Bahamas for a friend’s bachelorette party, consider your own triggers – and be honest with yourself.
Of course, no place is off-limits to you as a person in recovery and it’s possible to be around friends who are drinking without imbibing, but it’s essential that you determine what you can and can’t handle before committing to a week-long trip.
Plus, nature-oriented travel is usually fairly inexpensive and allows you to bring your furry companions along for the adventure! Nothing says wholesome relaxation quite like taking in a breathtaking view with (wo)man’s best friend, and your dog’s therapeutic qualities will help take the edge off.
You may like these dog-friendly accommodation options.
Remember to treat yourself
When you’re living in recovery, it can be easy to start to feel deprived. And if you’re planning, for example, a European vacation with friends and family, you’ll need a game plan and/or exit strategy for nights when they want to go wine tasting or on a pub crawl.
In those instances, make it your mission to indulge … just differently. Here are some indulgent sober travel ideas:
- Take a photography walking tour in Paris
- Schedule a massage or spa visit
- Find a chic cafe and sit with your favourite new-to-you travel book
- Book a healing retreat
Above all, don’t let yourself feel neglected. Simply redirect your need to unwind and find a safe, sober outlet.
Top Tip: Daytime, instead of nighttime, activities are a great option for travellers in sobriety.
Consider creating a sober travel itinerary
You don’t need to plan your vacation down to the minute (unless that’s your thing, in which case, DO YOU)! But you will need to make a list of inspiring activities to fill your days.
Seek out world-class museums, maybe take a culinary class or try beach yoga. Search message boards, travel websites and approved travel resources in advance and create a list of travel suggestions for the area you are visiting.
Top Tip! Seek out visually stimulating places. It’s okay to overwhelm your senses, just do so responsibly.
Let your support network know about your plans in advance
In an effort to disconnect, it can be tempting to leave your sponsor or sober community out of the loop. Sometimes you just want to get away from everyone and enjoy some privacy. However, for those in recovery, completely disconnecting from their support group can backfire.
One way to include them – while still setting boundaries – is to ask them for suggestions on how they successfully navigate sober travel. Jot down their ideas and mantras, and keep them on you at all times. That way — worst-case scenario — if you’re stuck somewhere without reliable cell phone service, you’ll be able to consult their words of wisdom.
And if you’re feeling really tempted to drink, don’t hesitate to reach out. Treat the situation like a health emergency, because it is. Your sponsor will be happy to answer the call, regardless of time-zone differences. Travel is meant to enhance your life, not derail your well-being and happiness.
Reduce your stress level
Ever wonder why nearly every comedian has a joke about travel? It’s because travelling can be a stressful experience.
You’re navigating new places, eating unfamiliar food, wrestling with different transportation, and encountering a new set of cultural norms. These experiences can be invigorating and educational — but also stressful.
So, don’t abandon your recovery rituals. Take time to meditate, exercise, journal — whatever you do to stay grounded.
You may also like these Top 10 Mental Health Retreats.
Be patient with yourself
Travelling sober can be an adjustment. Vacations are often associated with ‘letting loose’ and if that meant imbibing in alcohol or drugs in the past, the mental shift toward sobriety takes some getting used to.
Remember, you can still achieve that sense of freedom – completely sober. With careful planning, reflection, and self-care, you’ll rewire your brain and create sober memories to last a lifetime.
About our Guest Blogger:
Carrie Spencer created The Spencers Adventures to share her family’s homesteading adventures. Her goal is to live as self-sufficiently and environmentally-consciously as possible.
Find tips, recommendations and stories on the blog The Spencers Adventures.