Have you ever wondered if a clean/sober vacation would be right for you? In my early sobriety and before I started Easy Does It Adventures I often did. Would I really enjoy that sober cruise? I was definitely drawn to the idea of the “safe space” created by the nature of the trip. At the same time, I felt like a cruise would not be my “best fit” and maybe I would end up having a lame time.
Fortunately, after more research, I have learned that there are many kinds of clean/sober vacation experiences available to us: large group sober cruises & club Meds, sober safaris, small group backpacking & camping trips, luxury trips, adventure trips, and convention trips. And let’s not forget the trips that aren’t organized or sponsored by a company. A good friend recently shared that she and a few friends from her women’s meeting organized a camping getaway weekend for themselves complete with campfire, story-telling, and smores!
So, is a clean/sober holiday right for you? Here are a few things to think about to help answer that question:
Vacations can be tough!
For many of us in recovery, memories of past vacations can be hazy at best. If you’re anything like me, maybe you partied a little too hardy! When I first got sober, I couldn’t even imagine what a beach vacation looked like without the requisite umbrella drink.
Vacations can be “risky”
Triggers lurk everywhere and vacations can be rife with them. They can be environmental like a poolside or swim-up bar. Or they can be more emotional like the desire to “get away from it all.”
Because vacations can be rough and triggering, many people consider a clean/sober trip a great way to travel – especially in early recovery.
So, what are clean/sober vacations?
As mentioned above, there are all kinds of groups and trips out there and I’ve listed links to several companies running trips at the end of this post. Basically these trips are almost always group events comprised of like-minded people attracted to a vacation activity or destination spent staying clean & sober together.
They are trips about having fun as well as safety in numbers! In addition to regular group travel activities, there will generally be some sort of support to recovery: 12-step meetings, speakers, group sessions are a few examples.
Who goes on these things?
There is a wide range of companies offering sober vacations, so there are trips well suited to most people. In general, most people prefer to vacation with peers of a similar age, and so it is a good idea to question any prospective sober tour operator about the typical age make-up of the groups.
Sober vacations can be run as distinct programs on larger cruise ships or as "adventure style" trips, such as rafting, surfing, or hiking expeditions.
They are sometimes "travel" focused, with organized tours abroad.
The bottom line is: Clean/Sober vacations are suited to most people, as long as you select the kind of vacation that you would typically enjoy – and then enjoy it with other sober people.
And, for sure, Clean/Sober group travel is particularly appropriate for people who are vacationing for the first time, early in recovery.
OK, what’s it going to cost me?
Generally speaking, Clean & Sober group trips are no more or less expensive than other group travel packages. Of course, the range of trips available is huge, but as an example: a clean/sober yoga retreat to Bali should be priced on par with the same trip for “normal” people. Trips that offer professional services such as therapy, obviously, would be priced appropriately.
Should you go on a clean/sober vacation?
If you are in early recovery, participating in an organized sober tour can be a great way to test the waters before venturing off on solo vacations without organized support. Besides, hanging out with addicts & alcoholics in recovery is great fun!
Look, vacations can be challenging and the temptations can be strong. Going on an organized sober trip provides you a little support to help you make sure that your vacation fun is the kind of fun that you'll remember in the morning!
Here’s to safe & happy travelling!
RESOURCES FOR CLEAN/SOBER TRAVEL:
Other Resources: great article from The Fix on sober travel