Taking Recovery on the Road
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
Traveling in recovery can be a whole new adventure. We have gained a new perspective on our lives and we can go out and explore the world around us with new eyes.
Home is a safe haven where we can easily access the rituals and daily practices that we have carefully set in place that support our recovery. But when we travel, for business or for pleasure, can be exciting as much as it can be daunting, especially if you are early in your recovery. I have found that planning ahead and being mindful are key to maintaining a healthy foundation of recovery away from home.
I quit drinking halfway into my career as a flight attendant and I found that not only did I have to change everything in my personal and home life but I had to change everything in my work life as well. As a flight attendant, the struggle with HALT (hungry, angry, lonely and tired) is all too real. Travel can wreak havoc on your peace of mind.
It takes careful planning and time to put in place what will become a solid routine away from home. I suggest putting together a toolbox you can use that will allow you peace of mind and a sound program while away from home. This may include some advance research, but in the end, it will pay off. Be prepared and know your triggers. You can’t predict every temptation but you can take the steps necessary to safeguard your sobriety while you are away from home.
The most important tools for maintaining a healthy routine away from home include:
- Plan ahead: This includes identifying meetings and locations, support groups, gyms, healthy food options, yoga studios, juice bars, and a go-to list of friends and family members to call that support you and your recovery.
- Journal, meditate, and keep a daily gratitude list: Set your alarm for a few minutes early. Take time in the morning or when your schedule allows you to get away from any distractions and just be one with yourself. Take this time to reduce stress, meditate, write in a journal or create a gratitude list.
- Sleep or rest: Get a full night’s sleep and don’t let yourself get overly tired, take a nap if you need to, or just close your eyes for a few minutes.
- Maintain nutrition: Be mindful about what you put in your body. We don’t always eat well on the road and it is hard on the immune system. Limit caffeine and avoid sugary foods and refined carbohydrates. Aim for simple fuel and hydration, including high-protein food, healthy snacks, and water.
- Hydrate: This is one I seem to have a hard time with, especially on the road. One key is to simply bring a reusable water bottle and refill it whenever you can. It is especially important to stay hydrated when flying.
- Exercise: Stay active! This is where research and planning really pays off. Look to see if the hotel you are staying in has a gym. If you are a runner, research a local running route through Map My Run. Restore balance and locate the nearest yoga studio, and if that isn’t possible, you can access Yoga Download, an online yoga studio committed to helping people practice yoga anywhere, at any time.
- Stay connected: Staying connected is the most important tool in recovery on and off the road. There are several ways to do this and it is easier than ever with technology. Here are a couple of the top apps to download to connect with others, stay motivated or just read a quick positive message.
- Sober Grid: Lets users find and connect with others in recovery near them for support, encouragement, information and sober friendship.
- Daily Recovery App: Offers motivational messages of hope for a positive attitude and peace of mind.
- Cassava: Track progress in recovery such as nutrition, stress levels, sleep quality, moods, and physical activity. This app also has a recovery meeting directory that connects you with support groups anytime, anywhere.
- The Mindfulness App: Meditations for everyone to help you become more focused
These are just a few ideas that I have used in my travels and I hope that you find them just as useful. With proper preparation, you can venture to new places, enjoy new experiences, learn new things, and still stay on the path. If you are looking for a sole recovery experience you may want to check into Sober Vacations International or Travel Sober. These travel companies specialize in vacations that allow people in recovery to make like-minded friends, and experience new adventures.
Travel empowers the mind, body, and soul. When we change how we see things, we change what is possible. Recovery means having freedom to do the things you always wanted to do. In sobriety we can do these things with “new eyes”. I have found that I see others in a new light, and I have discovered a profound sense of peace, joy and appreciation.
Whatever you do or wherever you go, allow yourself enough time to experience the world around you. Be present and make a commitment to yourself, to your growth, and to your journey.
Be well, live well, travel well,