July 13, 2021
Regardless of the stage of recovery you’re in, certain situations can present some challenges – such as planning a vacation. While many greet the warm summer months with open arms, it can be a difficult time for those in recovery.
The good news? It’s more than possible to enjoy a vacation while avoiding triggers and maintaining your sobriety, and Recovery Centers of America is here to help! Read on to learn some healthy tips to keep you and your recovery on track during your next summer vacation.
Before you leave for your trip, be sure to do your research. Look for destinations and activities that won’t put your recovery in jeopardy. You may want to avoid destinations that are known for their party culture, such as Las Vegas, Cancun, and Amsterdam. Instead, try scoping out vacation spots that are less focused on alcohol and are rich in healthy activities, history, culture and the arts.
Fortunately, the Philadelphia area is conveniently located between a number of major metropolitan areas, shore towns, and outdoor destinations that make it easy to stay busy on vacation. With easy access to the Amtrak at 30th Street Station, you can be in our nation’s capital within hours to spend a weekend reflecting on our nation’s history. New York City is an even shorter train ride and offers endless opportunities to experience museums, galleries, shows, and world-renowned attractions for days on end. And if you feel like taking it easy while you’re in the Big Apple, head to Central Park for a picnic or a day of exploring.
For those who love the sand between their toes, Ocean City makes it simple to avoid triggering situations because it’s a totally dry town! If you’re staying in the surrounding shore towns, look for family-friendly movie nights available in towns like Avalon or Point Pleasant. If mountain life is more your speed, there’s no better place to experience the great outdoors than the Poconos, where you can paddle along the Delaware Water Gap or plan a hike on over 150 miles of trails.
If you’re the “staycation” type, Philadelphia boasts a wealth of activities that can keep your mind occupied and engaged, including the Adventure Aquarium just across the Delaware River in Camden. In town, there’s a variety of museums located in the Market East area that includes classics like the Museum of the American Revolution or Independence Hall. Some museums also offer late night activities like the Franklin Institute’s Night Skies in the Observatory or Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Pay What You Wish every Friday.
If you’d rather enjoy the outdoors, head over to Wissahickon Valley Park to hike through the wilderness, have a picnic in the park, or even ride a horse. If water is more your speed, try paddle boating off Penn’s Landing through the Independence Seaport Museum.
Wherever you decide to spend your vacation, remember to relax and enjoy your time, but be sure to have plans in place to prevent boredom from striking to avoid any potential temptation that may risk your sobriety. If you are someone who finds peace through nature, scope out some outdoor active activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, and rock climbing. If you are traveling with children, check out some local zoos, aquariums, and amusement parks that provide entertainment for the whole family.
Vacations are an excellent opportunity for us to unplug. However in recovery, unplugging does not mean disconnecting from our sober support network.
Remember, there is strength in numbers! When preparing to take a vacation, consider asking friends, family, or individuals in your recovery community to join you. Bringing individuals that you trust to support you and help maintain your sobriety will offer some much-needed relief to any travel anxiety you may experience during your trip.
Plan to stay in touch with your sponsor, fellow RCA alumni, and others in your circle. It’s always a good idea to let those in your support network know you will be traveling and may need some extra support. Not only does this make it easier for you to pick up the phone when in need, doing so gives them the opportunity to check in on you and offer their encouragement.
Once you select a destination for your sober summer vacation, be sure to find meetings in the area you will be traveling to before you leave. Planning your meeting attendance before leaving for a trip can help keep you accountable and reduce any stress that may come up if you feel triggered while you are away. A quick Google search or apps like NA Works or Meeting Guide can help make attending meetings during your trip a cinch!
The Philadelphia area has several Recovery Centers of America treatment centers that you can reach out to during your vacation or whenever you may need help. RCA’s inpatient and outpatient locations are as close as Devon and Malvern, PA and Mays Landing, NJ. RCA has locations in North Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Chicagoland. You can also lean into the alumni community! The Alumni Association at Recovery Centers of America hosts virtual meetings 7 days a week, multiple times a day. These meetings are not only for RCA alumni, but are open to family, friends or anyone in the recovery community. With support just a few clicks away, there is no reason you can’t get to a meeting while on vacation and check in with your peers.
Whether you have just discovered your new life in recovery, or you have been in the process for some time, remember to enjoy the ride, but don’t forget to pack your recovery toolbox! Continue to practice saying no, remember to check in with yourself and stay grounded– whether it’s through journaling or meditation. And most importantly, keep the focus on your recovery and stay in today.
Recovery Centers of America hosts a full continuum of care to help our patients build the confidence needed to transition back into everyday life. From inpatient rehab, outpatient addiction treatment and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), as well as events, meetings, and service opportunities sponsored by the Alumni Association, our goal is to empower you to take on the next phase of your life with plenty of support and resources.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, don’t wait. Recovery Centers of America answers the phone and admits patients 24/7 all year round. Call 1-800-RECOVERY now.