I certainly don’t have the money or free time to travel like we would all love to, but I have had the blessing of going on vacation a bit (mostly with family). Going on vacation, it’s always important for me to keep up with my recovery and find a way to get some stability. Even though vacation is intented to be relaxing, I seem to need meetings more than ever.
I’ve had the opportunity to go on the beautiful catamaran charter Tehiya in the British Virgin Islands, see the wildflower bloom in Death Valley, and visit family up in Portland, Oregon. Traveling to these different places is always exciting, but can create a little disruption in my normal schedule. One thing I am grateful for is the consistent presence of twelve-step meetings, no matter where I go. I also know I can bring my spiritual practice with me, always reach my support network, and trust in people around me. Once, when traveling in Mexico, I found an awesome English speaking therapist in Playa del Carmen.
As an active member of the 12 step community, I love to go to meetings when I’m traveling. In the British Virgin Islands, I was the only one in recovery in my group. However, I found some AA meetings online and was able to go to meetings with fellow visitors, locals, and seasonal workers. In a week of visiting, I was able to hit three different meetings.
This is truly a gift of twelve-step for which I am deeply grateful. It offers some stability when things are a little chaotic. If you’re not a fan of twelve step programs, I totally understand and hold no judgement. I know many people who get and stay sober without one of the “anonymous” programs and lead happy, healthy, and beautiful lives. For those of you that are active in the 12 step community, check out some meetings when you’re traveling! There are tons of meetings all over the world, and a Google search or call to a Central Office can usually help you find a meeting quickly! Whether you’re on vacation or just trying to stay sober during the holidays with family, this is a great way to go!
In using, I was always isolating. I still have a tendency to retreat to myself sometimes, and that’s okay, but it’s still beneficial to stay connected with my community. Sometimes, this takes me reminding myself of my experience getting sober, the pain, the harm caused, and the experience of going through withdrawals. Staying connected is an important part of my recovery, and always has been. It’s something that helps keep me grounded and feeling supported and seen in my life.
Wherever you are, you can make the effort to reach out to those who support you. If you have cell service, you have the opportunity to connect! Technology can support us in our recovery, and we can use it for the tool that it is! Just pick up the phone and make the call. If you are traveling with somebody else who is in recovery or knows about your recovery, you can connect with them to do something fun, be open and honest, and support one another.
One thing that has always been important in my personal recovery is a dedicated meditation practice. Whether you’re into keeping a journal, doing yoga, practicing meditation, or praying, we can keep up with our spiritual practice as we travel. It can be difficult when our days are different and schedules are changed on vacation, but we can make it a priority.
One thing that really helps me with this is setting a time to practice. When I’m on vacation, I meditate first thing in the morning before doing anything else. Setting a priority and following through helps me to make sure I get my practice done. If I don’t practice first thing in the morning, I often end up getting caught up in other activities while traveling!