Five top tips for staying in recovery when travelling

Travelling is often an incredibly enriching experience, but if you suffer with a mental health condition it can turn something that is meant to be thrilling into a real nightmare.

The vast majority of us like to explore new places and can take real fulfilment from it. However, if, like many people these days, you have suffered from addiction and have gone through alcohol or drug rehab you need to be careful, particularly in the early stages of recovery.

Travelling when in recovery can be difficult. It poses many challenges, but get through those and it can be life changing and a real positive for people. Making that first trip takes a lot of confidence, self control and determination, but there are many tips out there so you not only have a great time travelling, but you stay on track too…

Choose a Destination to Suit and Plan Ahead

First and foremost you need to think about where you’re travelling to. There are some parts of the world that lend themselves better to sobriety than others. For example, experiencing the cultures of Amsterdam or Dublin perhaps aren’t going to be the best option. Whereas countries such as Morocco, where the population is largely Muslim and non-drinkers, may well be.

Once you’ve determined where you’d like to visit, explore the likes of support resources as well as any potential triggers you might encounter on the way. That could be the stress of the airport or public transport in a foreign country, to navigating the potential boredom of being alone in the evening and not being able to venture out to bars. By doing this you can be prepared for the challenges and have coping mechanisms or alternatives in place.

Communicate Your Needs

If you’re travelling with others, then communicating your needs and being open and honest is a must. It’s likely your friends will already be aware of your situation and accomodate your needs. However, you may be on a tour with strangers potentially and in that case you may need to set clear boundaries in order to stay true to your recovery goals.

Practice Self-Care and Mindfulness

It’s likely as part of your day-to-day routine mindfulness and self-care will be a key part of that. Make sure you don’t skip that while you’re away as it’s a vital part of a recovery journey and will ensure you are mindful of your thoughts and feelings as well as remaining calm and relaxed throughout your stay.

Create Healthy Routines and Habits

That can be combined with establishing healthy routines when going away to add more structure and stability to your day. If you have a gym in your hotel, for example, going in the evening when prior to sobriety you might be out drinking could be a good option. Of course, exercise in the morning could set you up for a positive day too.

Think about what you are eating, what time you’re going to bed and whether you’re getting sufficient sleep. This can all contribute to a more healthy and balanced mindset and ensure you don’t trigger cravings and relapse.

Stay Connected and Seek Support

Finally, don’t forget about back home. It’s important to have a support network in recovery and that’s still the case when you’re away from home. Have your support network on standby, whether that be family, friends or members of a support group and check in regularly. This will keep you accountable and responsible for your actions.

Alongside this, you may also find sobriety groups locally, which can be great for checking in with your health as well as meeting like-minded people, ensuring you have a brilliant time away and, importantly, a sober time too.