Sober Vacation – Planning Yours

PAWS. It sounds nice as an acronym, but it is actually a very debilitating syndrome which many recovering addicts face. Imagine you’ve completed a rehab program in Thailand only 2 months ago. You’re feeling good and are learning how to live a sober life. Suddenly one day, you’re not feeling the same.

Planning Your Sober Vacation

When overcoming an addiction, finding sober activities to fulfill time and boredom can be one of the more difficult tasks. It is these very things that can cause a recovering addict to slowly move back into their old lifestyle and the habits that came with it. Holidays or vacations are a time in which we all look forward to, but for those of us in recovery these can pose a high risk for relapse.

Perhaps you’re going to celebrate your new life with a sober vacation. You might be wondering if it’s possible, or maybe you’re even fearful of triggers and cravings that will arise. Thoughts about whether or not you’ll ever be able to take a vacation again could be slowly arising in the sub-conscious.

You may know that you will be offered alcohol as soon as you board the plane. The destination may have triggers including bars, parties and drugs. Resisting these things can be incredibly difficult especially if you are not prepared or equipped to handle the situation. If you’re going to plan a sober vacation, you’ll need to prepare ahead of time. The following advice will help to reduce a risk of relapse while still allowing you to have plenty of fun.

Around 90% of people recovering from an opiate addiction (heroin and prescription meds) will go through post acute withdrawal. Another 75% of people recovering from alcohol, amphetamines or benzodiazepines will experience this. However, the symptoms and duration will vary from person to person. For some, PAWS is very controllable and lasts a short time. Others will experience such unpleasant symptoms that they become at risk of a relapse. In fact, PAWS is one of the most underestimated reasons for a relapse back into an addiction.

If these were a result of your addiction, you may have a deep desire to rebuild these relationships. Before you begin to restore these connections, it’s important to have prepared a plan which includes who you want to repair damage with and how you will begin to do that. If you haven’t developed this plan or need further advice, here are helpful ways to rebuild your relationships after an addiction ultimately making stronger and healthier connections.

Determine the Risk

When you’re planning a sober holiday, think about your triggers. What are they and what could cause them to appear? If your trigger is parties, bars and clubs, then a trip to London, New York or Bangkok will probably not be a good idea. Rather heading to the Grand Canyon, Stonehenge or the jungles will not carry as much of a risk of relapsing as big cities. Remember, even beach areas or “romantic” settings often have a lot of alcohol. Before you book your sober holiday, assess the atmosphere of the destination and remember, natural settings will invite more self reflection rather than drug or alcohol induced temptations. A vacation to somewhere abundant in nature may actually strengthen your sobriety and bring you closer to yourself and your loved ones.

Start Small
Your first holiday after rehab will cause you to have a lot of emotions. Excitement, nervousness, worry and anticipation can cause you to feel overwhelmed, anxious and stressed. Your holiday does not need to be extravagant and it doesn’t need to be long. Go for a weekend getaway at a local national park or lake. Camping, fishing or yoga retreats are all a lot of fun and can be enjoyed completely sober. When you’re ready, and you feel comfortable, you can extend your next holiday by a few more days.

Avoid the Hustle and Bustle of the Holidays
The holiday season like Christmas and Easter can be some of the worst times to travel. You can expect traffic, flight delays, immigration lines and a lot of people. Even the calmest person can get very stressed and anxious in these situations. If you’re trying to go on a sober vacation, it’s a good idea to avoid the holiday season all together. Go in mid to low seasons for a comfortable trip.

Travel with Trusted Sober Family Members and Friends
Going on a sober holiday with trusted family and friends, who may know your situation, will help you to stay on the right track and be comforted in knowing you have support to lean on. It also will remind you that you are accountable for yourself in these new situations and environments. You will want to be able to show your loved ones that you are as strong and confident as they see you as being.

Keep Taking Care of Yourself
It’s very easy to get carried away – even on a sober vacation.  Ignoring exercise, eating unhealthy foods and not sleeping enough can cause your mental and physical health to decline. Nutrition and exercise is very important in your recovery so while exploring these new places, remember to take care of yourself.

Make a List of Local Resources
Hopefully you have built a solid network of support in recovery. A challenge of sober travel can be the sheer knowing that you’ll be away from 12 step meetings or other similar groups of people. Just like you research things like hotels and tours, look up the local support groups. These are usually available in popular destinations and will always welcome you with open arms. Write these places down along with the phone numbers of a sponsor, sober buddy or trusted friends.

Consider Sober Holiday Packages
There are a number of businesses which design sober vacations for people in recovery. These are personalized for you and guaranteed to be drug and alcohol free. In group tours you can meet likeminded people and broaden your important support network. These special packages will reduce any anxiety, help you to stay focused on your sobriety and allow you to have an incredible, fun filled holiday.

Organized tour companies which are known in the recovery network include:
Sober Travelers
Sober Vacations
In This Life Travel

About Serenity Chiang Rai Rehab
If you currently have an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling or sex and would like to go to rehab to change your life for the better, consider Serenity Chiang Rai. As a leading rehab center in Thailand, Serenity Chiang Rai offers private treatment to men and women from around the globe. Situated in the hills of Chiang Mai, our private rehab incorporates the foremost results proven therapies with a 12 step foundation. This approach allows us to treat the whole person rather than just the symptoms. If you would like to know more about our cost affordable Thailand rehab, contact Serenity Chiang Rai today.

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