Sometimes you have to pull back and take stock of your life. Whatever the reason, it’s life-changing to arrive at a place where drinking doesn’t dominate your life. After a successful rehab, you will have to live an everyday life, which means getting a job, spending time with friends, and having fun. You may be exposed to trigger situations, which can happen when you spend time with your old drinking friends, visit your old neighborhood, or go through challenging emotions. The hardest part will be not giving in to the temptations. It’s essential to let everyone know of your efforts to stay sober and even request them to help you through the journey. For instance, ask friends not to have alcohol around when they invite you to their place.
With time, you will get the confidence to step out of the house on your own without worrying about making a wrong decision. You should have a fulfilling life, enjoy time with friends, and engage in activities you love. All this is possible if you have a reliable support system such as Enterhealth, create goals, and focus on achieving them. Also, follow up on your clinic’s appointments, cultivate healthy habits, and plan fun activities that do not center on food and drinks. Here is how to plan and enjoy a vacation.
Get a Practical Destination
You wouldn’t want to spend all your holiday time miserable and trying to avoid the temptation to indulge. Understand that traveling disrupts your life, offers you a chance to let your guard down. Your self-control muscle ought to be strongest when on vacation to prevent a relapse. It would help if you planned a holiday that involves a lot of outdoor activity and less eating and partying.
Think of activities that occupy your mind, such as hiking, visiting a national park, or an educational trip. A time on the beach enjoying the sun may also be excellent as long as you keep your mind busy with activities such as swimming and enjoying your favorite read.
Idleness is a recipe for relapse. Before venturing on vacation, craft a detailed itinerary that accounts for every minute you spend on the trip. Make sure to follow through with the schedule and, if need be, have an accountability partner. As you may have realized, you mostly think or miss a drink when idle or lazing around. When tired or busy, you are less likely to have a relapse. Planning also helps you stay focused on the events ahead, leaving little room for impulses.
Have Accountability Partners
Trying to fight the impulse may be more challenging when you are on vacation alone, but it gets easier when an accountability partner tags along. Sometimes, your willpower may be low, but there is someone to keep you on track throughout the holiday. When choosing a friend to accompany you, make sure they understand your journey, and are willing to sacrifice some of their preferences to see you stay sober. For instance, they may avoid going to clubs as much as they love partying on holiday just to keep you company.
It also helps to stay in touch with your support group. If you have a sponsor, regularly talking to them will help you stay on track. You may have to make sure you are easily accessible online wherever you go to enable your sponsor to keep in touch with you throughout the stay.
Focus on Your Health
One of the things your rehabilitation expert may have insisted on is the need to stay healthy and invest in good eating habits. When vacationing, it’s easy to throw caution to the wind and indulge in reckless eating. A healthy lifestyle keeps your mind and body strong so that you can successfully fight any temptation. Overindulgence makes you feel guilty, weak and may cause sleep problems, all of which can trigger a relapse.
If you have been exercising before the vacation, plan to continue the same wherever you go. It can be a brisk walk around town in the morning or a rigorous hour on the treadmill at the hotel as long as you take care of your health. Also, watch what you eat. When you focus on staying healthy, you will have more willpower to stay sober, but when you start compromising, soon enough, you will lose the self-control to remain sober.
Get Alternative Night Activities
Most people love partying and sampling different clubs when on vacation, but be different. Instead, check out cinemas around, walk in the moonlight, or when at the beach, swim under the stars. You will be surprised at how much more you can do at night on a vacation when your mind is not thinking about clubbing. If alone, get a local friend to keep you company. It will not only be fun, but you will learn a lot from your new friend.
Enjoy New Discoveries
Get on your adventurous spirit and sample whatever the vacation brings your way as long as you stay away from alcohol. Try exotic dishes, learn and experience a new culture, and make new friends. Ask your new-found friends to take you to their favorite food places or try preparing the dishes with them. When you are having fun, you are less likely to think about drinking.
Have Your Room Cleared
Some hotels stock a room refrigerator or minibar with various alcoholic and soft drinks for guests to indulge. It’s okay to request the hotel to clear any alcoholic beverages in the room before you check-in. Additionally, avoid all-inclusive vacation packages. The packages may be cheaper because you can eat and drink all you want at a flat rate, but this may trigger a relapse. Free or cheap things are very tempting. You don’t want to find yourself in such a fix.
Bring Along Sobriety Reminders
Your sponsor may have given you sobriety reading materials, journals, and tapes to listen to for motivation. It pays to carry them with you when on holiday. Make a habit of reading or listening to the pieces early before starting the day. It will set your mind on staying clean and give you more positive willpower to remain sober. Also, when you find yourself weak or struggling, go through the literature or audios for inspiration.
Pat Yourself on the Back
Be your number one cheerleader. Don’t dwell on what you were unable to achieve but on the progress you are making. Have you been able to resist the temptation to check out a club or taste a drink a friend offered? Reward yourself with something you like. You can even add an extra day to your vacation as a reward for the progress you’ve made. Don’t wait for others to praise you but be on the frontline. You can write yourself a congratulatory letter, take yourself to dinner or buy a gift.
Sometimes, you may require all your willpower to stay on track. Mindfulness helps strengthen your willpower and, at the same time, makes you aware of who you are and your surroundings. Practice breathing techniques, which may help you relax and think straight when anxiety creeps in. Mindful observation and immersion may also be of help when recovering from addiction. You are less likely to act on impulse because you are more conscious of everything happening, making you not indulge in reckless behavior.
Remind Yourself of Why You Should Stay Sober
It may help if you remember how desperate you were to make a change. What drove you to seek help? What are the benefits of your new life? Are you happy with the steps you took? Probably
- You are healthier, stronger and look better.
- You are happier, at peace, and enjoy life more.
- You have more clarity.
- You have more energy to handle everyday responsibilities.
- Your self-esteem has improved.
- You’ve made new friends who help you live a better life.
- You have a good job or are working on a promising career.
- Your quality of life is better.
- You don’t spend too much money on alcohol.
- You have established meaningful relationships with loved ones.
- People trust you more.
- You inspire, give hope, and encourage those who want to quit alcohol and other types of addiction.
Every day, remind yourself of the benefits of your new life, go through your old photos before rehab, and have a positive mindset of the life you have now. This will give you the willpower to fight for a better life or stay on track.
If possible, don’t go for an extended vacation, especially when you’ve just come out of rehab. Start with a few days, then continue planning more extended vacations as you gain the confidence to live a sober life. Also, remember to bring along a responsible accountability partner. Be happy, enjoy every moment, and build memories that put a smile on your face.