Do you salivate over the thought of that swift double thud sound — the one where the rubber hits the stamp pad right before marking your passport? If the answer is “yes,” then you might just be hopelessly filled with wanderlust. Traveling, in and of itself, can be rather addicting, and many addicts we know who like to travel have a laundry list of tales to tell about partying hard while abroad.
Traveling sober can seem like a scary proposition for those who are used to popping a Xanax (or three) and downing a couple of bloody marys on the plane en route to Bora Bora. You know, to take the edge off for the flight. And of course, those two extra welcome drinks from the tray when you get to your hotel — one for you, and one for your imaginary spare “friend.” And don’t even get us started on that fully stocked mini-bar back in the room!
Unconscious plane rides, partying it up until sunrise at Koh Pha Ngan’s full moon party, passing out on benches in the French Quarter of New Orleans on Mardi Gras — this is how you travel. What you don’t often hear enough about, however, is just how much of a pleasure it can be to travel in sobriety. And while the aforementioned may very well be your travel protocol, we’re going to fill you in on just how and why traveling sober can be fun and rewarding. It’s all about shifting your perspective, and how this shift can, quite literally, change your world.
12-Step Meetings are across the globe. Yes, it’s true. You can find 12-Step meetings just about anywhere in the world, and while you may not find them in really remote locales, you can generally find them in most popular travel destinations. This means that you not only have the opportunity to maintain and work your program while you’re on the road, but you have an instant network of comrades. Who else can actually say this, besides members of the Mafia or maybe the Rotary? Being sober, particularly if you’re in program, is a pretty sweet deal because you can go just about anywhere in the world, and you never have to be alone.
You’ll remember your trip. All of it. Gone are the days of blacking out on island beaches without much more than a fuzzy memory of pristine white sand, epic sunsets, and picturesque aquamarine waters. Or maybe on this upcoming trip to Europe, you’ll actually make it over to Musée D’Orsay to see your favorite Monet collection in person. You know, rather than spending each day in bed at your hostel nursing the previous night’s hangover. If it’s your only trip to France in this lifetime, do you really want to admit to your grandkids years from now that you spent your days in Paris puking over the splashing bidet while trying to piece together memories? Probably not. And you don’t have to.
You’ll have more stamina to soak up the sites and do fun things. Drugs and alcohol can wreak havoc on our bodies, and when we get sober, we generally find ourselves much more energized after a period of detox, however long that takes (depending on your drug of choice). Alcohol not only lacks protein, vitamins, and minerals, but it can actually inhibit the absorption and usage of certain vital nutrients in the body, such as B vitamins, folic acid, and zinc. Drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, on the other hand, can wipe out our appetites, causing many active addicts to do things like skip meals. And, of course, the list goes on and on in relation to the many reasons how and why drugs and alcohol can destroy our bodies and slow us down over time. Most addicts in recovery will report having a whole new lease on life, and an enormous boost in energy to boot. This means you get to take that energy and focus it on things like surfing, biking, skydiving, sightseeing, and all of the other fun things that can really enhance your globetrotting experience.
Last, but certainly not least…
You’ll have more money! Now that you’re not spending the majority of your vacation funds on drugs and alcohol, you get to spend money on more activities! And more souvenirs! And more…travel! Many of us find that our pockets get deeper in sobriety, primarily because our earning potential goes up, but also because drugs and alcohol are costly, particularly for an addict who’s not simply having an occasional glass of wine. Or indulging in a few lines of cocaine on that once-per-year Vegas trip with pals. For most addicts, it’s go big and go often or go home. So, in essence, a sizable chunk of our income often goes to substance when we’re active. Active addiction is expensive, so just imagine how much fun you can have on your next trip in sobriety with all of your extra cash. You might even be able to afford to squeeze an extra few countries in while you’re at it.
So there you have it — our list of reasons why traveling sober is an epic experience that’s not to be feared, and we’ve really only just scratched the surface. As a reminder, it’s always a good idea to check online before you head on your next trip to make sure that there are accessible 12-step meetings wherever you’re going.
And we’ll leave you with one more final tip: always remember to H.A.L.T. In other words, don’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired while you’re traveling. You’ll enjoy yourself immensely if you’re well-rested, well-fed, well-connected, and centered. Plus, you’ll be sober.
Do you have any cool experiences you’d like to share with us about traveling in sobriety? Please let us know in the comments below!
Kembali Recovery Center — located in the Heart of Bali, Indonesia: