Remaining in healthy recovery can be challenging even within your normal routine. Travel can make recovery more challenging still. You can enjoy travel while still maintaining your sobriety and developing your coping skills further.
While travel does present temptations everyday life might not, it also offers an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen your addiction recovery and discover how far you have come. Here are five strategies for staying sober while traveling.
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1. Understand Your Triggers and Plan How to Cope
Stress is one of the most common relapse triggers, and travel is a uniquely stressful situation. In addition to the excitement, you often have to cope with different languages and customs, plus the unique environment of the airport and flying. Know what your strongest triggers are and plan ways to react should you encounter them. For example, if you see a bustling airport bar, you could choose to take a brisk walk through the terminal or buy a cold soda from a kiosk instead. Many airlines only accept credit cards as payment for drinks, so it may be wise to have your travel partner hold onto yours while you are aboard a plane. Thinking ahead is an excellent way to make sure you are ready to handle triggers healthily and without undue emotion.
2. Carry Your Support Network with You
Is your sponsor on speed-dial? he or she should be. In fact, you should discuss your travel plans with your sponsor beforehand. Today there are several great mobile apps that help you do things like find meetings at your destination. Mapping apps will ensure you know how to get there on foot, by car, or using public transport. There are even apps that will steer you away from places where the nightlife may be too much of a temptation. Sober Grid is a social network for people in addiction recovery, and since it is fully mobile, it can go wherever you go.
3. Take Care of the Fundamentals of Food, Rest, and Physical Activity
It is easy to overdo it while traveling. After all, who knows when you will have another chance to visit your destination? Yet it is important to prioritize and not try to do everything people recommend if you go somewhere exciting like London, Las Vegas, or Cape Town. In fact, do not schedule extras unless you are sure your basic needs of reasonably healthy and regular meals, sufficient rest, and physical activity are taken care of. For one thing, you will not enjoy the sights if you are tired or hungry, and for another, triggers are harder to resist when you are physically run down.
4. Have Minibar Temptation Removed Beforehand
Is there a minibar in your hotel room? You can call ahead and find out, and if so, you can ask to be put in a room without one, or ask that all the items be removed from it before you check in. Hotel managers are accustomed to this, and they understand, so do not be timid about asking. If your hotel offers a nightly happy hour, knowing this in advance is often enough to help you stay away or find another activity to occupy you during that time.
5. Choose Destinations and Activities Wisely
Some destinations are going to present more triggers than others. People with gambling addiction, for example, might want to choose someplace other than Atlantic City or Vegas if they have a choice. Wherever you travel, of course, you may be tempted to jeopardize your recovery, so it will be important to choose activities with care also. Museums, hikes, and tours can be enjoyable, and if you attend a 12-step meeting while traveling, you may be able to ask people there about fun activities that will not compromise your addiction recovery.
Travel presents its own unique challenges, but if you plan, choose the right traveling companions, and keep your sobriety network close at hand via your smartphone, you can have a wonderful time without triggering a relapse. Learn to travel while maintaining your sobriety and you develop yet another healthy living skill that can encourage you as you continue in recovery. If you have questions about sobriety, addiction recovery, or other aspects of substance abuse disorders, we encourage you to contact us at any time.