HCN News & Notes

Enjoy a Sober Summer by Embracing Fun, Wellness on Vacation

HOLYOKE — Summer travel is up nearly 20% from last year, with more than 80% of Americans planning a vacation, and slightly less than half of these vacationers expect to take more than one.

The anticipation and planning for a summer getaway can be exciting, but vacation time can provide challenges around sobriety, too. Here are a few recommendations from MiraVista Behavioral Health Center to stay recovery-strong on a summer break while enjoying all its adventure and relaxation.

Prioritize self-care. Vacation is not a break from self-care. Take time to exercise, select healthy menu choices, and get quality sleep. Self-care is the foundation of your recovery. It travels with you wherever you go.

Explore sober fun. Vacations bring the fun of new experiences, and there is much to enjoy without substance use. Look for sober activities that align with your interests. Go hiking, try a new water sport, visit local landmarks, and journal about it at day’s end.

Plan ahead for triggers. Identify potential triggers that may arise during your vacation and plan accordingly. If certain places or situations make you uncomfortable, create alternative plans or avoid them altogether. Have coping strategies in place to manage any unexpected triggers that might come up. Your well-being comes first.

Practice mindfulness. Embrace the present moment during your vacation. Engage all your senses and fully experience the beauty around you. Mindfulness will help you appreciate your progress and strengthen your commitment to recovery. Be present, savor each moment, and let gratitude guide your journey.

Stay connected. Traveling doesn’t mean leaving behind a support network. Connecting to services via one’s smartphone or computer helps sustain sobriety. Update and keep accessible your contact list of trusted friends and relatives, valued sponsors and peer-recovery specialists, as well as therapists you can reach out to, if needed, through email, text, or phone. Visit Alcoholics Anonymous at aa-intergroup.org, Narcotics Anonymous at www.na.org/meetingsearch, and Al-Anon at al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings to access virtual meetings and other recovery support.

Celebrate milestones. If your vacation coincides with a recovery milestone or anniversary, use this time to reflect and celebrate how far you’ve come. Treat yourself to something special — a symbolic souvenir, a meaningful activity, or a journal entry commemorating your achievements. You deserve to acknowledge your progress.

By prioritizing your well-being, staying connected, and embracing the present moment, you can have an incredible vacation while sustaining your recovery.

Discover more about MiraVista’s outpatient substance-use treatment options by visiting miravistabhc.care or calling (413) 701-2600, option 3.