For most people, the prospect of going on vacation fills their minds with tropical beaches and poolside cocktails but for others with addiction issues, it can represent a stressful time that can threaten relapse. Nevertheless, the benefits of getting away from it all are significant for individuals in recovery after treatment at an alcoholic rehab center, as long as the risks are addressed ahead of departure.
Here we take a closer look at the ways recovering addicts can take steps to have an enjoyable vacation while managing sobriety effectively.
Choose the Right Time in Recovery to Take Vacations
Traveling to a different destination even temporarily isn’t an opportunity to escape from sobriety issues altogether. It’s often recommended that a patient wait to plan getaways until they have successfully managed their recovery for an extended period of time. That’s to ensure a more robust mental and physical state ahead of facing potential vacation stressors.
It’s important that a vacation restores a relaxed state of mind to recovering addicts, rather than placing them in situations where a relapse is possible. Vacationing too early in a recovery program can be detrimental to progress as it is more likely to be driven by a desire to escape treatment altogether. The early days of recovery are best focused on sobriety, with the patient learning to adapt to life at home without substance abuse.
Develop Coping Mechanisms
Most alcohol rehab centers provide education on developing systems and mechanisms to cope with independent living after a treatment program has finished. These methods can also be adopted to cope with the potential stresses of going on vacation. Activities that reduce stress levels are encouraged to help quiet the mind, lower blood pressure and assist the patient in dealing with any stressful situations that threaten their sobriety. Yoga, meditation or simply taking a nap can help towards relaxing addicts in recovery in a vacation environment.
The network of addiction support groups is extremely well-developed in the US, which means someone in recovery can choose a destination that is close to support or a meeting should it be required. Although it may not be ideal to attend meetings with unfamiliar people, they are still more than able to provide support when it’s needed most.
Surprisingly, boredom on vacation is a common complaint. For most people, it represents one of the limited opportunities to get away from the daily grind and for that reason; expectations are high when it comes to how much fun is going to be had. The fact is, however, no matter how much there is to see and do, there are inevitable down moments on vacation where people find themselves at a loose end.
Any recovering addict knows that boredom represents a threat to sobriety as it allows temptation and cravings to enter the mind’s otherwise empty space. It’s important to keep busy without pushing too hard otherwise another vacation will be needed to recover from the experience!
By planning a vacation activity strategy in advance, it’s possible to avoid prolonged periods of ‘nothing much happening’. Whether it’s a high-energy activity or an hour or so of sunbathing, having a scheduled event acts as a stepping stone from one hour of the vacation to the next. That reduces the time spent wondering what to do.
Expect Trigger Events on Vacation
It’s safe to assume that in the course of traveling to a vacation destination, there will be stresses. However, whether these events trigger relapse is another matter. Air travel, for example, is always fraught with danger. Delayed flights, last minute changes, long queues, tired children, packed planes are all potential triggers for a recovering addict.
This is when many of the techniques learned in a treatment program at alcohol rehab centers can be invaluable. Breathing exercises, detaching from the situation or talking things through are always stressful trigger events can be faced head-on whilst on vacation.
His House Rehab offers industry leading Alcohol Treatment Program. We were founded in 1994 and we base our Drug and Alcohol Treatment programs on five key principles: commitment, honesty, integrity, respect, and service. These five principles guide us in all that we do and all the care we provide. Contact us today to see how we can help you or your loved one at (888) 681-4594.