While rehab may seem like vacations of sorts, it doesn’t count as a “vacation”. Leaving your town, city, state, and country can be intimidating and worrying. Depending on the circumstances, even a nice trip or vacation can be something to stress over in early sobriety. Why do we worry? Well, we are leaving our homegroup, where we have hopefully made some friends and are connected with. We are going awhile without our sponsor, which we hopefully have, and getting out of our normal routine. It can be easy to forget to pray and meditate on trips, or how good our recovery is back at home.
Too New in Recovery to Travel?
How do we deal with this? Is it easy to take a vacation or trip in early recovery and stay sober and clean? I believe that , YES, is not only possible to stay sober on vacations to enjoy them like never before. By following a few tips, we can be the life of the party without a sip of alcohol or other drugs. Discover how to take your new sobriety to distant lands and faraway places, bringing it back intact
- Pack Up and Bring Along Your Spiritual Toolkit – “We had no alternative but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet” (Big Book pg. 25). Whether you know it or not, you have your own person spiritual took kit, that grows and improves with time and growth. For example reading, prayer, exercise, journaling, literature to read, and whatever we have learned so far in our recovery.
- Pick Who You Travel With Carefully – If you are travelling with family, you may be powerless over who is coming along for the trip. If you are planning a trip, make sure you feel comfortable around everyone. If there is one or more people also in sobriety on your vacation then even better! Sometimes AA or NA groups do cruise ships or road trips together to conferences, service, or just some relaxation, and they tend to be unforgettable!.
- Use Your Phone – Its the 21st century people, you can communicate quickly and effortless to dozens of recovery friends , family, or you sponsor. Your phone also has the ability to access literally thousands of speaker tapes, recovery talks, and meditations. Start out your day with a nice meditation. When agitated or on an airplane, listen to a speaker tape. The ideas are limitless. The phone can help you connect when you are in a strange place. There are even meeting apps for finding support while traveling.
- Reach Out, Don’t be Afraid! – In most meetings, the chairperson asks if there are any visitors. This is meant to allow the person visiting a chance to say hello and often signals they may need some extra attention after the meeting. In my meetings, if someone is visiting I usually ask them about where they are from and their homegroup. It is interesting the differences between recovery and sobriety in different locations. I’ve heard people in meetings share “I was so nervous that I wouldn’t find a place to come during my vacation, I am so glad to have found you guys!” Other times they are less appreciative and brag about how they do it back home. Usually people are extra nice to visitors, and can recommend other meetings, places to check out, and of course coffee shops
- Have an Escape Plan – No matter what kind of vacation you are taking, cruise, road-trip, or hotel, have an escape plan of sorts if things get hairy. Make sure you have a safe place to fall back to or your own room in the hotel, so you can get some alone time if your buddies get a little wild. If you bring along your spiritual tools or travel with sober pals then you most likely won’t have to use your escape plan at all!
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