You Can Take a Break, But Your Program Can’t

July 1, 2014

Summer is often a time for trips to the beach, the mountains or simply a time to relax and let our guard down a little bit. Many of us take vacations in the summer in hopes to get away from it all and have a nice change of scenery. For people in any kind of addiction recovery, there may be temptations to “take a break” from their program or to ease up on their recovery schedule. This can be a dangerous time when the “addict” inside might be looking for way to become, once again, more of an influence over one’s life and behavior.

One simple way to fight this temptation is to search for 12-step meetings in the places where you will be on vacation. I have many clients who tell me that some of their best/favorite recovery experiences have occurred at meetings attended while away from home. It can be very enlightening and eye-opening to attend a brand new meeting in a different city with a group of complete strangers. The regular meeting attendees are often very appreciative that someone would go out of their way to find their meeting and all of my clients who have done this report being welcomed with open arms into these new settings. I have clients who vacation at the same place every year, and they have found a great deal of comfort and support in these “vacation meetings” that they have discovered.

If you have a difficult time finding a meeting in your specific fellowship, then I would recommend attending a meeting from a different fellowship. For example, if you usually go to Gamblers Anonymous meetings, but cannot find any near your vacation spot, then look for an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting instead. The basic ideas behind all recovery are similar enough so that a temporary substitution of one fellowship for another should not negatively affect one’s program. In addition, meeting some new people in recovery and hearing some different perspectives can be quite helpful.

So make sure that you enjoy your summer. Take a break from work. Take a break from your daily routine. However, if you are in recovery, do not take a break from your program, because that “addict” part of you is always on the lookout for a way to regain control of your life.