Words: Henry Moore
When life is wearing you down, don’t insist on buckling down and pushing through. Sometimes, it’s a chance to get away that you need, even when there’s a lot on your plate. And while that advice holds true for everyone, it’s especially so for people on a journey to sobriety. Addiction recovery is a challenge like no other, and self-care is central to successful recovery.
It’s not hard to understand why prioritizing your emotional and mental needs is so important during recovery, but why vacation? Taking a break from your usual routine (and usual stressors) gets you into a different headspace where it’s easier to take stock of your life and your goals. While it’s certainly possible to achieve a break from the status quo on a staycation, getting away makes it a whole lot easier.
When you exchange your home city for a vacation destination, you immerse yourself in a world where your health and happiness is the number one priority — not something you tend to after the workday is over. During addiction recovery, that means plenty of time to introspect and connect with your reasons for staying sober. You can reignite a lost passion or do something that scares you as a way to boost your self-esteem. Alternatively, you can plan a vacation focused around spiritual experiences to find inner strength and a sense of purpose. No matter your goal for vacation, there’s an experience out there for you. Here are some other ideas:
- Head to a recovery-centered retreat for a getaway focused on self-healing. You’ll have an opportunity to disconnect from the world and all its baggage and instead reconnect with your true self — all while surrounded by a supportive community that’s navigating the path to sobriety alongside you. According to an article in Alcoholism Research Quarterly, spirituality is an important component of maintaining sobriety long-term.
- Escape to the wilderness for a vacation that’s as mentally stimulating as it is physically engaging. Outdoor adventures push your limits, so you can prove to yourself just how much you’re capable of. If you have a pet that’s helped you get through dark times, an outdoor vacation is the perfect way to show him how much he means to you (and you’ll have a great trail companion too!).
- If fitness has played a big role in your recovery, plan a trip to a race or event where you can show off your hard-won gains. Training and competing in a big event reminds you of just how strong, resilient, and driven you are, both in sports and life.
- Travel with a sober travel group to discover new destinations and connect with a supportive community you can lean on long after you’re home. According to SAMHSA, encouragement from peers is essential to lasting substance abuse recovery. When you have a network of sober friends, you have people to turn to in times of need and a newfound sense of belonging after leaving a toxic community behind.
These four options are only the tip of the iceberg; there are countless vacations that can be tailored to the needs of someone recovering from addiction. The important thing is keeping your recovery at the center of your trip. Avoid triggering destinations and activities, surround yourself with people supportive of your recovery, and seek out activities that are both fun and personally meaningful. You might feel like you’ve earned a vacation from the recovery process after so much hard work, but letting your mind falter only puts your progress at risk. When you make your sobriety a priority for your vacation, you’ll come out the other side stronger and more dedicated than ever.