It’s commonly believed that adhering to a routine is crucial in recovery, especially in early recovery, but there are times you cannot maintain your routine; for instance, due to business or vacation travel. While travel can make recovery more difficult, there are ways to stay committed to your sobriety when away from home.
Recovering from alcohol abuse is possible with effective treatment and support. When you are engaged in recovery services, such as counseling and self-help groups, you may find that staying sober is not as difficult as you thought it might be.
On the other hand, when you experience changes to your routine, such as traveling for vacation or work, staying committed to recovery can be more challenging. Although recovery while traveling can be more difficult, there are ways to avoid drinking and stay committed to your sobriety when away from home. You may even benefit from using remote monitoring services provided by BACtrack View during your trip.
Communicate Your Needs
Whether you’re taking a vacation with your family or traveling out of town for work, it is important that your travel partners are aware of your need to avoid alcohol. For example, your business partners may think nothing of going out for a few drinks after a long day of meetings, but this sort of activity can threaten your sobriety. Even if you make a plan not to drink, seeing others consuming alcohol may trigger a relapse. Inform your travel partners ahead of time that you will not be drinking, so they will not be surprised or offended when you turn down an invitation to the bar. If taking a vacation with family, you’ll benefit from discussing alcohol-free activities you can enjoy during your trip.
Stay Connected to Recovery
Going out of town doesn’t have to mean completely stepping away from the recovery process. Communicate your travel plans with your counselor and trusted friends from support groups. You can likely schedule a phone call or a video meeting with your counselor to keep you on track during your trip. Daily check-ins with friends from support groups can also keep you on track and accountable to your recovery. A quick phone call or text message may be all you need to stay connected. In fact, in a 2013 study in the journal Technology and Health Care, a majority of participants who were recovering from alcohol abuse said that supportive text messages reminded them to stay sober and motivated them to recover and avoid relapse (1).
In addition to staying connected to your recovery via text messages and phone calls, you can continue to participate in support group meetings while traveling. For example, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) offers meetings around the country. Visit their website to find local AA groups wherever you’re traveling so you stay in the habit of attending meetings while away from home (2). Attending just one or two meetings during the course of a weeklong trip can keep you motivated to abstain from alcohol.
Just as you would when at home, it is important to continue to take care of yourself while traveling. At a minimum, this means getting adequate sleep, following a healthy diet, and making time for exercise. As the author of a 2015 report in The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine explained, poor self-care is linked to drug and alcohol abuse, because people tend to use drugs and alcohol to relax or reward themselves (3). If you are not practicing proper self-care, you may find yourself turning to a drink to relax during your trip. Instead of threatening your sobriety while traveling, take the time to engage in self-care activities, such as taking a walk in the morning, giving yourself a break to read or watch a movie, or making a trip to the hotel fitness center for a workout. By caring for yourself in these ways, you will not be tempted to use alcohol to relax or unwind during your trip.
Make Use of Remote Monitoring
Beyond the other strategies discussed here, remote monitoring may be useful during your trip if you are required to prove your sobriety for probation or legal purposes, or if your treatment program requires regular alcohol level testing. Remote monitoring can also be used for self-testing; you can save verified BAC test results for your own sobriety tracking or to share with loved ones in real-time. BACtrack View provides a high-quality remote monitoring service using your smartphone, the BACtrack View app, and a BACtrack Mobile breathalyzer. BACtrack View helps maintain accountability since it takes a photo of you while you’re completing a breathalyzer test and stamps your result with the date and time; results can be saved and shared in real-time. With these features, you can accurately and easily confirm to others you are abstaining from alcohol while you are away from home.
With remote monitoring and other strategies, such as attending support group meetings, practicing self-care, and staying engaged in recovery via phone call and text message, it is possible to remain committed to your sobriety while traveling. Taking time to incorporate these tactics into your trip will be worthwhile and allow you to return home without losing any ground in your journey toward a life that is free from the grips of alcohol addiction.