Vacationing Sober While in Recovery

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Recently I went on vacation to Mexico. When most people think of vacationing in Mexico they think of white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and drinking margaritas. This last part can be a problem for people in recovery from a substance use disorder. However, just because you are in recovery from drugs and alcohol doesn’t mean you can no longer enjoy your travels. Here are some suggestions for maintaining your sobriety while traveling.

Plan Excursions

Mexico, and other exotic locals, have a lot more to offer than just drinking on a beach. While on vacation, I went snorkeling in Cenotes- the underground caves throughout Riviera Maya. I also went to a monkey sanctuary where I got to interact with parrots, cobras, and monkeys. I went dolphin and sea turtle watching and snorkeling in the second biggest barrier reef in the world.

If I was drinking on the beach every day I would have gotten bored, but I did something different every day and came home with amazing stories to tell my friends and family. These experiences will last a lifetime. Use the concierge at your hotel or resort for suggestions. Trip Advisor can be a great way to find the right activities for you as well!

Look for Potential Triggers

While the excursions I participated in didn’t involve drinking, there are some excursions that do. These trips typically cater to a younger party crowd and include drinking (usually on a boat). When planning your activities, make sure to double check whether alcohol will be a part of the trip. Plan your excursions ahead of time and call the tour company before booking to confirm that drinking will not be involved. Reviews are a great way to separate fun activities from relapse triggering ones.

Know Where Your Recovery Resources Are

Airports specifically are full of temptations with bars at every turn. Did you know that if you are feeling triggered at an airport you can have “a friend of Bill W.” paged and someone from Alcoholics Anonymous will come talk to you?

Remember, AA is international so you can even go to a meeting in the country you are visiting (sometimes on the beach!). I recommend looking up meetings ahead of time so you have an idea of where and when to go. Don’t forget to ask when you arrive if the hotel or resort has any onsite meetings or local recommendations!

Bon Voyage!


Article Written by Shaylyn Forte, LPC, CAADC