For many people on the path to addiction recovery, traveling is a challenge in itself. You’re going to be exposed to many different scenarios, unfamiliar places, and people who aren’t aware of what you’re going through, and therefore, don’t know that they shouldn’t offer you a drink. Hardest of all, you’re going to encounter a lot of temptations, from the airport bars to in-flight drinks, down to your hotel room and the restaurants at your destination.
It can even be harder to stay away from temptations when traveling with other people that aren’t trying to stay sober. That said, you may be more inclined to take a solo trip for now as you’re regaining control of your life. However, traveling solo can either be easier or harder when it comes to your sobriety and if you think it’ll be the latter, here are some tips that can help.
Plan your itinerary to a T
One of the best things about traveling alone is that you have full control of the itinerary. Take advantage of that fact to help yourself stay on track toward recovery. Sober living for women often involves a lot of planning anyway, so this could also be a helpful exercise for you.
When planning your trip, stay away from alcohol-centric destinations, accommodation, and establishments. For instance, instead of a hotel that has a casino on the ground floor, pick one that doesn’t even have a hotel bar. Or instead of going to a destination where people usually go to parties, go somewhere you can focus on other things, such as exploring the local history or trying new cuisines.
Try to plan your trip around your menstrual cycle
Often, the best time to go on a trip is during your “happy” time of the month, which is the follicular phase and ovulation. During this phase of the menstrual cycle, your moods are more likely to be stable, happier even. You are less likely to fall into a bad mood, and if you do, it is often easier to avoid dwelling on them.
What does this have to do with staying sober? When you’re in the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle, there are higher chances of your emotions going awry. In this phase, we often experience higher levels of stress, irritability, and all sorts of discomfort. Therefore, we tend to seek creature comforts, and if you’re on the path to recovery, your “comfort” may be the substance that you’re trying to stay away from.
Keep your support system on speed dial
When traveling alone as a woman, you should know by now the safety precautions that you have to take. But more than that, you must prepare for the feelings of fear, isolation, or loneliness that can come when you’re in another city or country on your own.
The path to sobriety is not one that you can take alone, although it may feel that way sometimes. So even if you’re going on a solo adventure, don’t forget that you have people to help you when temptations get too overwhelming or when you feel that you’ve made a mistake. Keep in touch with your friends, family, therapist, and sponsor. Aside from letting them know that you’re safe, doing this will also help you feel more grounded, even when you are in a completely unfamiliar place.
Don’t miss appointments
If you have to attend meetings with your support group or appointments with your therapist, use virtual conferencing software while you’re on vacation. Let your providers know in advance so that they can prepare, and so that they don’t expect you to show up in person during your scheduled appointments.
Even if you’re on vacation mode, it is incredibly important to stay on top of your treatments. In fact, keeping in touch with your providers is essential to let them know of your progress, especially now that you are tackling a new challenge by staying sober on a solo trip.
Let other people know
You may meet some new friends while you’re traveling alone, and this can be a great way to make your trip feel less lonely. Although you don’t have to tell them the whole story, it’s important that you let them know right off the bat that you can’t drink or take any substance that they’re trying to offer you.
The words ‘traveling’ and ‘sober’ in the same sentence may not have made sense to the old you, but you’re on a different path now. If you’re holding back on finally embarking on the solo adventure of your dreams, use these strategies to help yourself become more confident in your own ability to stay away from temptations.