Whether you’re answering the call of the lazy, hazy days of summer with a couple of weeks off or planning a winter weekend getaway, few things in life revive your soul like vacation. And just because you’re choosing to maintain recovery doesn’t detract from the possibilities one bit!
Sobriety Isn’t Boring
For people new to sobriety, there’s sometimes an attitude that you simply can’t have all the fun you used to because some of life’s pleasures are no longer available. Others might feel they aren’t the same—fun, spontaneous, full of adventure—without being the life of the party. Still others have FOMO (fear of missing out) if their friends or family go to, say, a wine-tasting at a lovely vineyard without them.
Choosing sobriety and seeking better life options isn’t simply a side effect of pink cloud syndrome, that initial turning point when your health is better and you’re full of optimism about the future. If anything, dedicating time to pursuing your interests might make sobriety easier and more fulfilling.
In 2020, Travel and Leisure reported that “studies have variously shown that just four days can impact stress and well-being, that positive effects peak at eight days, and that longer vacations—more than 10 days—soothe stress better than shorter ones.” In addition to reducing stress, time away can also improve brain health and lift your mood: both essential to maintaining your sobriety goals.
Ideas for a Sober Vacation
Tap into your innermost desires and interests, and you have the building blocks for a great vacation experience!
You don’t need a lot of money to choose a more lively path for your days off. For example, if you established new wellness goals for sobriety, pack a nutritious picnic lunch and hit a new hiking trail. Plan for even longer excursions that accommodate inexpensive camping options in national parks with a discount pass—there are 11 national parks in Georgia alone, making any annual pass fee a bargain. Invite family and friends to chip in on an off-season beach house. Plan to attend every free music and arts festival near you for the entire season. Often, something interesting and inexpensive is just around the corner.
Take the Ultimate “Staycation”
Chillin’ at home is often an overlooked opportunity. Granted, some people might be a little over their close confines after the pandemic, but now that we’re free to move about, there are numerous opportunities to enjoy where you live. Spend a week simply exploring your town or city: walking through different parks, catching free outdoor movies and concerts, browsing through different books in the library, eating in a restaurant that’s farthest from your house, or starting a new routine or hobby you’ve been meaning to try when you have more time. Let your curiosity guide you.
Plan a State-Only Excursion
How much do you really know about your state and its attractions? And how much fun would it be to plan six different long weekends (number chosen totally at random!) within a year, visiting different places? For example, if you live in Georgia, you could venture to the private islands off Savannah’s coast, explore Black history throughout the state, or get your nosh on with special food tours, like the Georgia Barbecue Flavor Tour.
Gather Your Sober Pals Together for Fun Times
Celebrate your sobriety by doing the things that make lasting memories, and what better way than with members of your sober network? Take an RV across the U.S. for two weeks and pose in front of all the unusual roadside attractions along the way. Do a weekend group scavenger hunt in Atlanta. Scrounge around the Old Car City in White, Georgia, for a weird nostalgic day trip. Bottom line: if your friends are with you, no matter what you’re doing, there’s bound to be fun!
Add Purpose & Meaning to Your Travel
Giving back is a wonderful benefit of sobriety, and there are numerous opportunities to vacation and do good. What? “Work” on your vacation—and pay for the privilege? To a certain degree, yes, but it’s a great way to meet new people with like-minded attitudes. Some people combine adventure with purpose, such as helping with marine conservation in Belize, or building homes abroad with Habitat for Humanity.
Reward Living in the Now With a Big Trip
If you’ve always wanted to visit another country, what are you waiting for? Retirement? Bah. Answer the wandering call now and plan a vacation trip with a company such as:
- Sober Vacations International, which states that “Since 1987, we’ve been helping fellow 12-steppers expand their comfort zone in safe and beautiful environments, surrounded by others in recovery. Come join us in fulfilling the promise of living happy, joyous, and free!”
- A similar organization, Travel Sober, has a mission to “provide great experiences for people in 12-Step recovery, including their families and friends, who share a love of travel.”
- Consider We Love Lucid, a European tour company with short- and long-stay options.
- There’s also Recovery Elevator, which plans approximately two major travel events a year at both international and domestic locations.
- Sober Celebrations specializes in cruise-oriented travel.
- Also look into Sober Outside and its many adventure-filled options.
Willingway: A Fresh Start to a New Life
We’ll always help you explore new avenues through our continuing care community groups. Located throughout the Southeast, each one provides resources to help you live sobriety to the fullest.