Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Staying Sober while Traveling

Staying Sober while TravelingAddicts have become dependent on drugs to relieve emotional pain, stress, and boredom, and often use drugs to cope with new, unfamiliar, stressful, or intimidating situations.

Traveling Can Threaten Recovery

For these reasons and more, traveling can be a daunting prospect for a recovering addict, especially one who is new to recovery and has not yet traveled as a sober person. If he has traveled in the past while still using drugs or alcohol it is likely that drug use was an integral and seemingly indispensable part of traveling. He may have used drugs or alcohol to alleviate boredom on the road, relieve the fear of flying, compensate for jet lag, overcome social anxiety, or simply to enhance sightseeing, and provide a sense of adventure. While traveling for the first time as a sober person the recovering addict may wonder how to get along and have fun without drugs or alcohol.

The recovering addict may also fear that travel will trigger relapse. Traveling whether for business of pleasure may put the recovering addict in situations that will threaten recovery. People on vacation often socialize and “party” in bars, especially at destination resorts. Going to a local bar or pub is often part of experiencing the local culture. Travel may involve being in an area during a festive time such as Mardi Gras or Spring Break when everyone seems to be indulging. Even on more sedate business trips people often have drinks over lunch or dinner. In any of these situations it can be very challenging to remain sober.

Tips for Traveling as a Sober Person

If you are new to recovery and are planning to travel, there are general and specific things you can do to remain sober and still get the most out of your trip. In fact, you will find that you enjoy your travels more when you are sober and clear headed.

Ways to remain sober while traveling include but are not limited to the following:

  • Stay in touch with your sponsor; check in regularly and share your experiences with him.
  • Tell others you are traveling with that you are in recovery, have no intention of using drugs or alcohol and need them to respect your position.
  • Have fun; get into the experience, see the sights, participate in activities that don’t involve drug use, talk to the locals.
  • If on a more mundane excursion such as a business trip or a drive across the country to visit relatives, find things to occupy your time and ways to make the trip enjoyable; get books on tape to listen to in the car; stop and see points of interest.
  • Eat well and get plenty of rest.
  • Keep in mind that by not using drugs you are saving money; don’t be afraid to use those savings to treat yourself to a nice dinner or visit an attraction.
  • Keep in mind also that by not using drugs you are not at risk of being arrested.

Support for Continued Recovery

If you would like help finding support for your recovery while you are traveling, or if you have any questions about addiction, treatment, or recovery, please call our toll-free 24 hour helpline.

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