Many people look forward to warmer months as an opportunity to take a break from reality and spend time away from home on vacation. Whether it’s on the beach, in the mountains, or by a river, a vacation can provide the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind.
For individuals in recovery, however, going on vacation can be a source of stress. Vacations mean disruption in routine, stressful travel planning, and potential exposure to partying or drinking that can threaten sobriety.
While it’s impossible to remove all of these stressors, planning a trip to a place that makes it easy to stay sober can be one step toward being able to truly enjoy your vacation. Some cities – like New Orleans and Las Vegas – should likely be avoided for people in recovery (although it’s not impossible to visit them and stay sober). Other destinations are just as fun, and put less stress on a person’s sobriety.
Orlando is a great family destination with endless activities available at famous theme parks like Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld. At many of these theme parks, alcohol is extremely difficult to come by, so the odds of being exposed to it are relatively low. Theme parks can provide entertainment for a whole day – or even more – reducing the stress of finding activities to fill your time while you’re on vacation.
Ocean City, New Jersey
Ocean City is a dry town, meaning the sale of alcohol is prohibited by the local government. While individuals can purchase and consume alcohol bought outside Ocean City, there is no alcohol available in local establishments and restaurants. Knowing that you won’t be exposed to alcohol can be a huge relief if you’re planning a vacation in early recovery. Ocean City also features many family-friendly attractions, including local boutiques, watersport equipment rentals, and a boardwalk.
In addition to being known as “Music City,” Nashville is the most sober city in the United States. It also has a thriving recovery community, with many support groups, 12-step meetings, and other recovery-related activities taking place on a daily basis. For country music lovers, the sights to see and things to do in Nashville are endless, and there’s not likely to be pressure if you’re doing it all without a drink in hand.
Colorado residents’ commitment to an active, outdoor lifestyle has made Denver a healthful vacation destination. Take advantage of the city’s natural beauty by planning a hiking excursion, going whitewater rafting, or even braving a zipline course. In the colder snowy months, skiing and snowboarding are extremely popular activities. Denver and the surrounding area offer an abundance of natural beauty that provides a peaceful, relaxing vacation setting.
No matter where you’re headed, it’s smart to have a trusted friend or sponsor on speed dial in case the stressors of vacation start to get to you.
Planning a trip to a city with plenty of sober activities to keep you occupied is a great way to make sure your vacation is successful and stress-free. If you’re struggling to stay sober while traveling, check out these resources from Rehab After Work to help you in your recovery.