Vacation season is fast approaching and when we think of the expression “travel tips”, we generally think of recommendations regarding where to eat, where to stay, must-see attractions and the best parking spots. For those of us in recovery, however, traveling means making a whole different set of plans. This is one of the lesser-discussed issues when it comes life after treatment. When we travel, we take ourselves out of our comfort zone and we may never really know how vulnerable to relapse until there’s nothing we can do about it.
The fact is that most of us will have to travel at some point, whether it’s for business or personal reasons, and we should be able to feel just as comfortable in our destinations as we do in our homes. It’s true that we can’t pack our support network with us, but there are ways to plan and make sure that we stay connected to our recovery. Vacation is supposed to be fun and the last thing we want to do on our trip is thinking about what we’re doing wrong, or not doing at all, regarding our sobriety. Once we get these basic techniques down, we can travel more freely without having to worry about neglecting our wellness routines.
Know Your Meetings – There are AA and NA meetings practically everywhere in the United States. When we finalize our destinations, we should research meetings in our area so we have easy and clear access. If we’re traveling international, or to a location where no meetings can be found, we can stay in contact with our sponsor or support network via phone, Skype or email.
Make Time for Recovery – Whether it’s a vacation or a business trip, we tend to our pack our trips tight with activities, leaving us little room for downtime. It’s important that we spend time with ourselves and simply unplug and recharge. Just an hour or a half hour per day can make all the difference and leaving us feeling more relaxed and self-aware. No matter what we’re doing, we’re never too busy to take just a little break and check in with ourselves.
Choose Your Travel Mates Wisely – Most of us have been on trips where we learn that close quarters with certain loved ones can be emotionally taxing. This doesn’t mean that we love them any less. It just means a certain amount of distance is good for the relationship. If we travel with we know we can trust and have fun with, we run a much lower risk of succumbing to stress and ruining our trips.
As we make plans to hit the road, the air or the water this summer, we can practice basic mindfulness to ensure that we have a great time while successfully maintaining our recovery.