For recovering alcoholics, traveling can feel like the ultimate test of sobriety. When traveling for business, get-togethers are often held at a bar or an events center with an open bar. When traveling for pleasure, it’s easy to see those fancy umbrella drinks or craft beers and want one for yourself.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when preparing for a trip:

  • Don’t go it alone. If you are traveling to a conference for your job, if possible, buddy up with someone that you trust. Let them know that traveling can be difficult for you, and that you’d like to ask for their support. Having a support system there while you travel can really help you on your journey to staying sober. However, if there is no one you feel you can confide in, don’t hesitate to slip away and make a phone call to someone who understands your situation. Just because it’s a work-related party does not mean you have to stay to the bitter end.
  • Pick your destination carefully. It’s obvious that you should avoid Panama City on Spring Break and Germany in October, but other destinations can be just as dangerous, especially if you are in early recovery. Plan ahead. Will you feel comfortable on a cruise to the Caribbean where many of those around you will be drinking? Psychology Today suggests asking your travel agent about any sober tours available. These tours connect you with others who are committed to sobriety. There are sober tours for just about every activity: safaris, retreats, sports, cruises, and more. By taking a sober tour, you are taking temptation away.
  • Look up AA meetings that you can attend at your destination. Zen Sobriety advises attending AA meetings on the road to keep yourself in check. It’s also a good way to meet locals and make friends. Use the internet to find local meetings. Keep in mind that it might be a little more difficult to find English speaking meetings in some countries; however, they do exist in many higher population areas.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while you travel:

  • Keep your sponsor’s phone number handy. New Hope Recovery suggests that you always stay in communication with your sponsor and other recovering alcoholics. Remember, if you find yourself stressed or get triggered while on vacation, your support system is only a phone call away. Check in with them to keep yourself accountable and to stay connected.
  • Treat yourself. Buy some new songs or download some podcasts to listen to while you’re poolside or sitting in your hotel room. Load your Kindle or iPad with a few new books. That way, you’ve got options. If your traveling companions choose to go out, you can sit at the pool or in your room with that new book you’ve been wanting to read.
  • Take care of yourself. When traveling, people tend to sleep less and let their diets slip. When you aren’t taking care of yourself, it can make you more likely to use. Make sure you drink plenty of water, choose healthy food options, and get enough rest during your trip.
  • Don’t forget to have fun!

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