I often get asked by parents whether it is a good idea for their son who is struggling with alcohol addiction and sobriety to go on vacation. There is no question that we are dealing with a life and death struggle here, and it is understandable that parents regard every decision as important.

It’s not unusual to struggle with making the right call when it comes to vacations or holiday trips. Every client is in a different place in their recovery; it’s important to have a strong grasp on that concept and before making any decisions regarding a family trip. Determining where your son is at in his own recovery is crucial.

Getting sober is an amazing gift and a huge part of the reward is redeveloping the relationships that have been strained as a result of our alcohol addiction. We believe that visiting family when the time is right can be a huge growth opportunity, but all family members must handle the trip properly and take any necessary precautionary measures.

The main takeaway here: vacation does not always mean relapse. We just took a weeklong beach trip with all staff and clients and it was an amazing bonding experience for all of us. There were no issues on our trip; each client knew they would be accountable for their actions and we provided a safe, fun environment. Golf was played, waves were ridden and sharks were caught off the beach.

Life has to be fun and relationships need to be healed. If parents follow the staff’s lead regarding visitation, a wonderful family rebuilding experience is possible.