Using Hart Consultants To Stay Sober While Traveling: Support Network Communication
Traveling can present a number of challenges to someone recovering from addiction. Travel is often stressful, especially when things go wrong in an unfamiliar place. Travel takes you away from your normal routine and support network. Travel also presents many opportunities to drink, especially in airports and on flights. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, here are some tips to help you stay sober on your journey.
Treatment and recovery offer every family the promise of a life beyond their wildest dreams, which includes travel, school, family events and celebrations, and much more. With the support of Hart Consultants, families can achieve everything they set their goals for, from effective treatment for a loved one, to transitional programming for returning to life, to ongoing case management to support all areas for recovery. A strong network with proven communication among each professional and component of a loved one’s recovery program is essential for maximizing life, reducing stress, and focusing on what matters most: living free from addictions, eating disorders, and other mental health conditions.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time.
Planning ahead and giving yourself plenty of time can reduce stress. The secret to doing this effectively is to assume everything will take about three times as long as you expect. No matter how much you plan, there will always be unexpected delays. These delays multiply with the distance you have to travel and the number of people involved. If your schedule is tight, every glitch will make you anxious, but if you plan for delays, you can stay much more relaxed. Any money you can spend to reduce the hassle of travel is money well spent. For example, that direct flight might cost a little more but it will save you a ton of stress. Just imagine yourself sprinting through an unfamiliar airport and missing your connecting flight anyway and you won’t feel so bad about spending the extra money.
Also, pay attention to details. Pack early so you’re not rushing around the morning you leave trying to make sure you remembered everything. Make sure you have gas in the car and know where you’re going. If you’re flying, make sure you have a plan to get from the airport to your hotel. Anything you can do to avoid stress and make things go more smoothly will reduce your cravings.
Since traveling takes us away from our familiar routines and sometimes presents us with novel challenges, it’s easy to lose track of the basics like eating and resting. Remember the acronym HALT, which stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. Any of these can cause cravings and they are all common while traveling. However, they can typically be dealt with relatively easily if you remember to watch out for them. Bring along healthy snacks so you’re not at the mercy of airport food. You may also find yourself on the road or sitting on the runway with no food available for a while, so it’s good to come prepared. Use healthy coping strategies like deep breathing to deal with the stress and irritation of travel. Rest when you have to–especially if you’re driving–and remember you can call someone when you feel lonely.
Bring Some Books.
Travel often involves a lot of boredom, which is bad for anyone in recovery. Have a plan ahead of time for how you are going to manage your boredom. Books are especially good. You always have your phone, of course, but endless scrolling through social media can make you irritable and restless. Books are usually a more relaxing and productive way to pass the time. If you’re driving, an audiobook can make the time pass much faster. However, having multiple options is always a good idea.
Stay in Contact With Your Sober Network.
It’s easier than ever to stay in contact with your support network when you’re traveling. You can talk on the phone, text, or chat. Let people know ahead of time that you’ll be traveling. If you’re in the habit of texting people throughout the day, you might not notice any difference unless you travel somewhere with a big time difference. Keeping up these regular interactions can help you feel less lonely, especially if you’re traveling by yourself. If you feel tempted, have someone you can call and talk to until the temptation passes, even if it happens at an inconvenient hour.
Find a Meeting.
There are 12-step meetings all over the world. It’s likely that no matter where you’re going you can find a meeting to attend. If you plan to be gone for more than a few days or if you will miss your regular meeting, look up meetings in the area and pick one to attend. It’s better to do this before you travel and put it on your schedule so you’re less likely to skip it.
Get the Minibar Removed.
A lot of hotels have minibars in the room and the last thing you want is to be stuck in your hotel room staring down a bunch of tiny bottles. Call ahead and see if your hotel room has a minibar and if it does, ask to have it taken out. Hotels are usually happy to do this.
Stick to Your Routine.
Clearly, you can’t stick to every part of your regular routine while you’re traveling, but you can usually stick to some of it. For example, if your recovery plan includes meditation, prayer, or writing in your journal, it’s pretty easy to do those things while traveling and they help give you a feeling of continuity with your regular life. Other things like eating healthy and getting some exercise may be a bit more difficult but are sometimes still manageable. Your sleep schedule is likely to be disrupted, especially if you change time zones, so you’ll want to make plans ahead of time to adjust for that, especially if you have an anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder.
Bring a Friend.
You don’t always have the option of traveling with someone, and sometimes you can’t choose your travel companion, but if possible, travel with someone who supports your recovery. You will feel less bored and lonely on the road and there will be someone there to hold you accountable. And if something goes wrong, it’s less stressful if someone else is with you.
Make a Commitment.
People sometimes feel like if they’re in a different city they can take a break from sobriety. That’s definitely not how it works. Decide ahead of time that although you will be in a different place, you will keep your commitment to recovery.
Hart Consultants helps customize wrap-around treatment and transitional care programs for families seeking support for recovery from addiction, eating disorders, and other mental health conditions. Working with some of the country’s most trusted and renowned treatment programs, our team strives to ensure successful, stress-free recovery for the whole family. We coordinate with every member of a loved one’s treatment team to provide communication, progress, and healing. For more information on our services, call us today: (844) 262-7970