How to Stay Sober on Vacation

In my second year of sobriety, I took my first sober vacation.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Low on sufficient funds, a friend and I traveled locally to Cape Code, Massachusetts. We rented a campsite next to a small lake. There were showers and a pavilion in case of inclement weather, and that was about it! The four-day getaway was to be relaxing, quiet, and a chance to test our ability to enjoy ourselves without drinks or drugs.

Unfortunately, as novice campers, we were caught off guard when we found that this particular site was holding a beer fest! We tried our best to keep to ourselves and to use the facilities during off-peak times. I will say that the beer per say wasn’t the issue. The actual dilemma was the drunk and extremely obnoxious campers that were everywhere! I certainly saw just how out of control and obtuse some drunk people can be.

Bermuda

Years later, I was able to afford a short cruise to Bermuda.

Traveling with another sober friend we did our pre-cruise research. This particular ship held “Friends of Bill W” meetings twice daily and had an alcohol free restaurant and lounge. I recall that I was about 5 years sober at that point and had acclimated to parties and outings where alcohol was served. This trip was enjoyable and we met quite a few fascinating people at the meetings. (Interestingly, at almost each meeting, someone would enter that room and ask, “Who is Bill W?” having seen the sign outside the door.)

Mexico

Fortune found me in my sixth sober year when I won a trip to Mexico!

Again, traveling with a dear sober friend, this adventure was a pleasurable treat. We stayed in a quiet hotel, shopped, ate too much and spent hours each day on gorgeous beaches. By this point, I was not the least bit tempted by alcohol or the poor waif children offering to sell us marijuana and questionable pills. Instead of buying their merchandise, I bought food for them.

Staying Sober on Vacation

As you are well aware, alcohol is everywhere; television commercials, all types of eateries, Cape Cod, Bermuda, Mexico, in your relatives’ refrigerators and so on. For some, the substances of their past will always be a temptation, but for others, the temptation will go away completely. Either way, we always have a responsibility to be vigilant of potential temptations—even on vacation.

Here are some things I do to assure my sobriety away from home:

  • Research AA and NA meetings near the area you’re traveling to. Meetings away from home have always been interesting and helpful for me.
  • Plan to stay in touch with your sponsor when you travel. Just a phone call or two, or even just a few texts will do.
  • Don’t forget to bring along your Twelve Step literature, and other reading material that you enjoy browsing while at home.
  • And finally, keep your Higher Power in your heart as you travel.

I look forward to my next sober vacation, and I hope you get to take one soon!


Author: Katie H. is a writer, recovering addict, and mother based in Connecticut.