There is nothing like hitting the road and escaping from your regular routines to get your blood flowing and put a smile on your face. When you are newly sober, it is all too likely that memories of previous vacations are filled with drunken escapades that are better left in the past. If you want to leave your drinking behind you, there are some proven ways to ensure that you remember and enjoy your vacation without regrets or hangovers.
1. Select a destination that is not conducive to drinking.
There is no doubt that certain vacation spots are sure to make it tougher to stay sober. Las Vegas and cruise ship vacations come to mind immediately. It is almost impossible to resist the urge to drink when you are immersed in certain environments that revolve around partying with a drink in your hand. There is no logical reason to tempt fate. Consider vacations that focus more on natural beauty, like state parks where alcohol is not permitted. Let common sense be your guide as you select a vacation destination.
On almost any day, it is not difficult for me to choose ice cream or a decadent cup of coffee with whipped cream over an alcoholic beverage. Substitute non-alcoholic treats for booze. After-all, it’s your vacation. It’s alright to splurge a little without putting your sobriety at risk.
3. Add some structure to each day with planned events.
Boredom can be the enemy of any person who is tempted to drink to fill up the time. Granted, you don’t have to plan every single second of every day, but doing your research ahead of time so that you have a general itinerary is always a good idea.
4. Pack some inspirational reading material to take on your trip.
Sometimes all you need is some inspiration to guide you in the right direction. We all depend on the wise words of others when we are tempted to drift into negative spaces. Whether you like audio books or prefer reading on a Kindle or smartphone, be sure to have plenty of your favorite authors handy, so you can stay on the right path.
5. Use coping techniques to manage stressful situations.
It is common knowledge that alcohol is often used as a way to cope with stress and anxiety. Be prepared to calm yourself down by meditating or exercising instead of turning to liquid courage. Listening to music or the sounds of nature are also proven methods for dealing with life’s many stressors.
6. Go to bed early and get plenty of rest
Sleep is a wonderful refuge and is always preferable to alcohol. Waking up refreshed and excited about a new day of adventure is the perfect recipe for a memorable vacation. The later you stay out at night, the more likely you are to indulge. A tired body and mind is more likely to turn to old habits. Being calm and safely tucked into bed by 11 pm or so will make it less likely that you will struggle with the temptation of drinking.
When you are tempted to drink, it is important to remember how terrible a hangover feels and why you want to stay sober. Choosing mental and physical health feels good each and every time you have the courage to make smart choices.
8. Invite a sober friend to join you.
Having a trusted friend accompany on your vacation can be a lot of fun and also hold you accountable. Pick a friend who is health-conscious and not likely to encourage you to drink. The perfect travel partner is another person committed to sobriety.
9. Stay physically active.
Physical activity is an excellent way to stay sober and also enjoy seeing the sights. Ride a bicycle along the beach or hike along a trail and breathe in nature. Another benefit of physical activity is that it releases endorphins into your system which act as a mood booster or a natural high. Who needs alcohol when you are high on life.
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