Traveling for pleasure or business may present challenges for those trying to maintain a sober lifestyle. In many cases, traveling pulls you away from the security and support you may have at home. It can drive up anxiety, break up your routine, and even tempt you in new social environments.
While traveling may test your sobriety, there are some strategies that you can implement to keep your mind crisp, focused, and ready to take on the challenge.
Leaving behind your support system can be one of the most unnerving challenges you’ll face, but it doesn’t have to be. Our digital lifestyles now make it easier than ever to stay connected. Establish your support lifelines before you leave town. If you have people you would like to stay connected with, keep them in touch throughout your trip. Share your experiences with them back at home by snapping photos, memories, and more. This will serve as a helpful distraction as well as be an entertaining way to stay connected. If you’re in need of some face to face support, it may be wise to seek out support groups that may be available in the area. This a great way to connect and gather support along your journey.
Having a itinerary can help you keep busy and avoid running into downtime that can present conflicts. Check to see what events will be occurring when you visit, take a look at local attractions, and if your traveling will involve connecting with others for business or pleasure–try suggesting meeting places like a museum cafe or places that are causal and entertaining.
Your mental tool chest is your best friend so come prepared. Travel can bring upon stressful situations and this cannot often trigger alcohol addiction. Prepare some stress-reducing strategies–such as mindfulness techniques, breathing exercises, mantras, or other tools that help you stay calm and positive. Find ways to get into your comfort zone. Bring along a favorite quote, photo, or memento that helps keep you motivated and inspired.
You’re already dealing with challenges on a day to day basis, so why not continue to be your boss-like self by demonstrating your willpower. If your hotel room has a stocked mini bar–request for it to be emptied–there’s no sense in allowing it to tempt you after all.
Relax and Unwind
Whether you traveled for business or pleasure, it’s important to remind yourself it’s okay to relax. If you need your pillow from home–so be it. If you need that aromatherapy blend–bring it. And if you want to curl up with a good book–go for it.
Break a Sweat
Exercise can be one of those therapeutic ways to help us reduce stress, improve wellness, and all around feel-good. Head to the hotel gym, find a local yoga class, or head out for a jog. Exercising will not only serve as a positive distraction, it allows you to indulge it that carbo-loaded delight with a little less guilt.
Care and Compassion
Above all, love and compassion for yourself is a must. You’ve chosen a sober path because of the life it offers you. Continue to honor this by allowing yourself to obtain new experiences. Avoid getting lost in your head and stay connected with your needs. Caring for yourself should remain at your highest level of importance—so stay hydrated, well fed and rested, and don’t forget to treat yourself (massage, new shoes, etc.)–you deserve it.
Traveling is a pleasurable and meaningful life experience, and sobriety should bare no impact on those experiences. Be alert and attentive to your needs, bring tools and strategies to support you along the way, and remember how awesome you are. You’re making decisions that benefit you and those you love. Make your trip worth remembering.