If you have just quit or are looking to quit drinking, you have to navigate through life in a whole new way. There are times and settings when the temptation to drink will be greater than normal. One of these is while traveling. Many people are misled into thinking that drinking during travel doesn’t count and that they can reset their sobriety when they get back home. The truth is that what happens on vacation doesn’t stay on vacation. These are five ways to avoid drinking when you travel.
1. Stay away from party towns
There are some vacation destinations that are primarily known for the kind of ribaldry that people get into. Much of this can be fueled by alcohol. You should instead look for a place that is lively but in a different sort of way. While many bigger cities have a big bar culture, you’ll also find they have plenty of activities that appeal to those who don’t drink. You might also find a more docile environment, like a quiet coastal town, suits your needs. Do as much research into various destinations as possible and consider whether or not they’ll be conducive to your continued sobriety.
2. Go with a sober friend or family member
It’s much easier to avoid drinking if you have someone else to hold you accountable. This can also be made easier when you need to hold them accountable as well. Get in touch with them and lay out ground rules once they’ve agreed to come. While you both will be monitoring one another, the trip should be spent in enjoyment, not in suspicion. If either of you is tempted, it should be voiced. There shouldn’t be any judgment or shaming, only understanding.
3. Have a thorough schedule
If you can’t think of anything to do, you might just throw up your hands and decide to drink. But a great vacation is one where you always find something new and exciting. Your schedule from morning to evening should be planned out, from when you eat lunch to what museums you visit. When you adhere to a schedule, you’ll be more able to avoid the temptation to drink. Plus, you’ll be enjoying yourself so much, you won’t even miss it.
4. Use the power of impulse control
Getting over an addiction is largely about getting power over your impulses. People are quick to do things that they know they shouldn’t, because they feel like they can’t resist it. If you feel like drinking, don’t tell yourself you’re not going to drink, as that can put a lot of pressure on you. Instead, tell yourself you’re not going to drink for the next ten minutes. Let ten minutes pass and see how you feel. You might have even forgotten about the urge entirely. If not, just repeat the process.
5. Get in touch with your sponsor
If you’re in a program like Alcoholics Anonymous, your sponsor can be crucial to your sobriety. They are there to help you through dilemmas and offer guidance. Let them know beforehand that you are going on vacation and agree on the terms of contact (such as texting vs. calling on the phone). They’ll be able to offer you support in any moments of trouble. Do your best to fight temptation on your own, but don’t feel too proud to ask for help.
Avoiding drinking when you travel isn’t about just saying “I’m not going to drink.” It’s about making a thorough action plan and sticking to it. By following these tips, you can make your vacation wonderful, satisfying, and sober.
If you’d like to learn more about alcohol addiction including treatment options, please visit The Recovery Village.