Can I Take A Holiday From My Recovery?

This is a question many people ask and lots of people try unsuccessfully. Whilst holiday times may involve relaxing your routines, vigilance is essential if you do not want to fall into relapse from your addiction.

Recovery requires:-

  • Long term commitment
  • Daily commitment
  • Courage and determination

Man thinking about his recovery from binge eating

Photo by Steve Punter

Reasons why it doesn’t work

Thinking patterns – binge eaters have thinking patterns that cause them to view life in extremes. This leads to behaviours like “eating everything or nothing”. With recovery you learn to put things into perspective, however until you have mastered this skill, all or nothing thinking patterns will put you at a higher risk of relapse.

Triggers – holidays are full of trigger foods and drinks. Whether it’s Christmas or your summer holiday, you will be surrounded by temptation. It’s not the time to reintroduce trigger foods. Instead you will find that you will have one and then won’t stop. This could easily be the starting point of a relapse.

Reduced support – holiday times often mean that your regular support network is unavailable to help you, either because they are busy with their own families or because you are away.

Routines change – it is very easy to be thrown by different routines, particularly in your early days of recovery. If you let go of all your routines, it won’t be long before you will slip back into old behaviours. Again you then risk relapsing.

Ask yourself

If you were a diabetic requiring insulin to keep you alive, would you take a holiday from injecting yourself? Do you take a holiday from brushing your teeth? Recovery is no different. You need to be vigilant about your recovery every day or you may risk losing everything you have worked so hard for.

Child having teeth cleaned

Photo by Makelessnoise

Top tips for a successful holiday

  • Eat regular meals
  • Eat “safe” foods if feeling vulnerable
  • Avoid trigger situations
  • Get support from inspirational literature, CD’s or podcasts
  • Focus on the holiday not the food or drink
  • Enjoy yourself

Holidays can be a real challenge in early recovery but they do get much easier with time. It’s a great learning experience where you have a chance to find out what works for you and what doesn’t. If you are serious about your recovery you will remain vigilant every day of the year and even more so during holiday times.

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