Traveling can be a great way to refresh the mind, reflect on the simple pleasures of life, and expand your horizons. However, it can also present added temptations for the recovering addict to use again because of the celebratory mindset it often invokes. When you go on vacations for pleasure can be completely up to you as you are navigating the early stages of recovery, but sometimes occasions might arise that call for out-of-town travel—weddings and business trips, for example. Here is what you need to know about the pros and cons of traveling while recovering from addiction.
Just the respite you need
Traveling, if planned out accordingly, can offer you just the respite you need to de-stress, which is essential for eliminating triggers to use that come out of times of frustration and being overwhelmed. Travel is not inherently stress-free, however; it requires a special measure of planning and organization in order for it to be truly relaxing and therapeutic.
Time spent doing fulfilling activities
Traveling can be a great time to explore new activities like hiking, rock climbing, and horseback riding that offer lasting fulfillment. These activities can remind you of how to seek pleasure in the everyday rather than in drugs or alcohol, and they can arm you with memories that remind you of what life lived sober can offer. If you are planning a trip out of town, aim to keep your time filled with these types of activities.
The celebratory mindset
One common relapse trigger is the mindset that it’s okay to use “just once” on special occasions that call for celebration. Weekends, nights spent out on the town, and vacations in particular can invoke this mindset. One con to traveling while recovering from addiction, then, is the increased temptations you might face to drink or use recreational drugs in order to “celebrate” spending time out of town. Be sure to keep this particular trigger in mind if you are spending time away from home.
Losing your routine
Establishing a routine that eliminates times of idleness and keeps you engaged in fulfilling activities is central to keeping yourself focused on staying sober while in the early stages of recovery from addiction. When you travel, you lose the security of having this routine and need to be careful to fill your time in such a way that you aren’t tempted to use out of boredom.