Digging to Roam

How to Stay Sober on Vacation

Photo courtesy of Giuseppe Milo at http://www.pixael.com/en/shop
Photo courtesy of Giuseppe Milo at http://www.pixael.com/en/shop

Summer is here and the warmth radiating into the office window conjures up dreams of poolside lounge chairs and remote sun-kissed beaches. While you mentally plan your dream getaway and add pins to your vacation planning Pinterest board, guilty and anxious thoughts about drinking can trickle in. You don’t want to throw away your sober lifestyle for two weeks at an all-inclusive resort. If thoughts of getting loaded on vacation are making you uncomfortable, you aren't alone.

I recently got married at an all-inclusive resort. Not only did I stay sober, but I had the time of my life. It is possible to vacation and stay sober around people who drink, but it requires a bit of forethought and a lot of acceptance.

Traveling while sober can be daunting. The first time I had to travel after getting sober I was only a couple months away from my last drunk. I had to go from Argentina to Uruguay and back again to renew my visa. It’s a trip I had taken half a dozen times before, but on previous journeys I always drank. Relaxing in the tranquility of the Uruguayan pueblo, Colonia del Sacramento, went hand in hand with drinks to unwind and wine with dinner. Realizing that I had to take that trip again, without drinking, gave me immense anxiety--until I asked a sober friend to go with me.

These are some tips that have helped me protect my sobriety while on vacation:


Pre-Trip Organizing

Knowing you aren’t going to return to a dirty home or an unmanageable pile of work can help you relax while on vacation. Do what you can to leave your daily life comfortably organized. Make sure you have an idea of what the environment and different activities will be where you’re going, to relieve and plan around any possible triggers while on vacation.

I am patient with myself on this step. I don’t push myself into the stress zone just to clean my apartment. However, I do make sure I take care of key things before I take off on a trip. I create a list of must-dos like taking out all the garbage, throwing out food that will spoil when I’m gone and doing the dishes. I know the frustration of returning to those things is not a good place for me to be.

Original published 30 June 2017
Posted here 9 July 2017
By Kristance Harlow

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