When you’re in recovery from alcohol abuse, it can seem like challenges to your sobriety are everywhere. It’s almost impossible to avoid seeing other people drinking, even if you don’t frequent bars or clubs, because even most family restaurants offer alcoholic beverages. Depending on what state you live in, you’ll see wine, beer, and hard liquor when you’re walking through a convenience store or grocery shopping. Even if seeing alcohol doesn’t bother you, you still have to face any issues that may have led you to drink in the first place, like anxiety, stress, or depression. Knowing all this, it’s no wonder that traveling can pose a particular problem to someone trying to remain sober. Still, there are some things you can do to avoid falling back into old habits.
Research before you go. Check into AA or other support group meetings in the area where you’ll be staying. It might be tempting to think of it as a sort of emergency backup in case you feel yourself slipping, but if you’re in the habit of going to a meeting frequently, you should try to stick to your schedule. Also find out as much as you can about where you’ll be staying and the places you’ll be visiting. Does the hotel you’re considering serve free cocktails every evening? Maybe not the best choice.
Stay in contact with your support network from home. Whether it’s a sponsor, a friend, or a family member, keep in touch with someone who you know will support your sobriety. This is particularly important if you’re traveling alone or if you know you’re going to be around people who drink and might not understand why you have to abstain.
If your hotel has a mini bar, call ahead of time and ask them to empty it. There’s nothing wrong with removing temptation. Similarly, if you’re staying with people who you feel comfortable discussing your recovery with, you could ask them not to have alcohol in the house or to lock it up somewhere. If you don’t feel you can ask for that, at least bring your own non-alcoholic drinks with you.
Try to stick to your routine. If you’ve found that exercising first thing in the morning helps you deal with the stress of the day, find a hotel with a gym and don’t deviate from your usual. If you have control over your schedule, try not to pack it so full that you don’t have time for relaxation. At the same time, try not to leave so much free time that you’ll get bored and start thinking about drinking.
Try to stay away from people and places that will remind you of drinking. For example, if you’re visiting your hometown, it’s probably a good idea that you don’t take your old drinking buddy up on his offer to hang out or go to a club where you used to drink all the time. These triggers are only going to make it more likely that you relapse.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.