Tips for Recovering Addicts on Vacation to Las Vegas
Are you a recovering addict who needs tips for vacationing? I recently had the pleasure of joining my husband on his work trip to Las Vegas, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have concerns about visiting Sin City as a recovering addict.
Leading up to the trip I felt a bit anxious and especially hesitant about the hours in the day when my husband would be in his work training. Thankfully, everything ended up just fine and I didn't have any big cravings or relapse episodes, but I can see how a trip to Las Vegas might be a triggering experience for addicted individuals who are new in their recovery.
5 Tips for Recovering Addicts on Vacation
Thankfully, I survived my Vegas trip without relapse so I wanted to share a few helpful tips for any recovering addicts who might be traveling to the infamous Sin City in the future. Keep in mind that everyone's experience with addiction can vary drastically. My tips are based on my personal experience, so please alter any advice as needed for your specific situation.
1. What's the most important tip for addicts in recovery? Don't visit Las Vegas in your first year of recovery.
As a fairly seasoned recoveree, I can confidently say that Las Vegas is not the place for those who are fresh in their recovery. Even if your drug-of-choice isn't gambling, the indulgent atmosphere can be a lot to handle for many people. From the constant aroma of cigarette smoke, the easy access to affordable (or sometimes free) alcohol, sex on demand, and the unlimited options for food all play a part in this city's excessive nature. There is a vice for just about everyone in Las Vegas, so be careful and know your limits.
2. Check your motives.
Why are you visiting Las Vegas? Are you going for an unavoidable work function? Are you going for a family trip? Are you going for a bachelorette party? If you're making excuses as to why you shouldn't go, that might be your inner self trying to tell you that you aren't ready to visit Vegas yet. On the other hand, if you are trying to convince yourself (or your friends) to vacation in Vegas and receiving pushback from loved ones this might be an indicator that Las Vegas isn't the best destination for you.
If you are visiting for a seemingly unavoidable commitment, plan your days (and nights) before you go. Don't leave room for excessive leisure time in your schedule, especially in the evenings. Idle hands can be triggering for many of us in recovery.
3. Know your addiction triggers.
In addition to knowing your limits, it's also important to fully understand your addiction triggers. If you're in long-term recovery and feel confident in your abilities to manage your sobriety, you must go into the trip being fully aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Be mindful of things that make you want to dive back into your addiction. Avoid triggering people, places, and activities that take you back to that addictive mindset.
4. Always a tip for addicts in recovery on vacation: Accountability is key.
Depending on who you're visiting Vegas with or what you're visiting for, it might not be possible to bring a trusted friend, mentor, or sponsor along with you. However, accountability should still be a top priority.
If you can't take a buddy with you physically, you can always access your most trusted addiction support systems via text, call, social media, video chat, etc. Keep your phone charged up at all times and reach out to these individuals if you feel tempted, triggered, or overwhelmed in any way. It might also be helpful to have a set check-in time where you call a sponsor or mentor at least once per day.
5. Have some compassion for yourself.
It is not guaranteed that you'll relapse when visiting Las Vegas. I fully believe that many recovering addicts can visit this city and fight through any temptations that may arise. However, if you do relapse (either mentally or literally) you must forgive yourself. Recognize that you are a fierce warrior and losing one battle doesn't mean you've lost the entire war.
Developing compassion for yourself early in the stages of relapse will help prevent you from any self-loathing spiral that might occur and also potentially stop the progression toward a full-blown relapse. We all make mistakes. Don't let one slip-up get the best of you.
Final Tip for Addicts Vacationing to Las Vegas
Even though I completed a successful Vegas trip without relapsing, I'm still not the biggest fan of the city. I believe in the past (in my active addiction) I would have thoroughly enjoyed a Vegas trip and would undoubtedly be planning my next trip upon my arrival back home. However, sober Amanda thinks a little bit differently.
After so many years in recovery, I have slowly reigned in the exhibitionist that lives inside of me and learned that activities or places that involve over-indulgence probably aren't the healthiest option for me. Some people can handle a life filled with tempting and titillating activity, but others, like myself, need healthy boundaries, defined limits, and clear expectations set in place.
Living with a history of addiction doesn't imply that you're doomed to living a boring, monotonous life, but it does indicate that you must be proactive in every area of your life that could cause you to stumble.
So whether you're visiting Las Vegas, Kansas City, Miami, or anywhere in between, take the necessary precautions to ensure that your sobriety stays intact. No person, place, or activity is worth risking the precious hours, days, or years that you've put into your recovery ("How Do You Have Fun in Sobriety?").
What are your tips for addicts who want to take a vacation? Share them in the comments.
Richardson, A. (2020, February 6). Tips for Recovering Addicts on Vacation to Las Vegas, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, January 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/debunkingaddiction/2020/2/tips-for-recovering-addicts-on-vacation-to-las-vegas