3 Steps to Prepare for Traveling as a Recovering Addict
The first few months after I left rehab went really well. During rehab, I had repeatedly expressed my anxiety that I would immediately relapse after being discharged. My therapist helped me create a plan for how to implement everything I had learned on a day-to-day basis. Together, we created a schedule to structure my chaotic life, making time to reinforce my recovery tools.
All of which ensured I was terrified the first time since rehab that I had to travel for work. Travel had never been particularly stressful for me. However, now it meant leaving the stability I had clung to behind, if only temporarily. I feared that my recovery would fall apart without my regular structure and without my support system nearby.
Fortunately, I was still seeing a therapist and they helped me remain calm and take the steps available to keep me clean on my travels. Since then, I have travelled many times and have learnt some lessons in how to prepare.
Here are 3 steps to take when preparing to travel as a recovering addict.
1. Speak to your therapist:
You can tell yourself to remain calm. You can try to think of all the possible ways to keep yourself away from drugs and alcohol. You can reassure yourself that the worst case scenario you envision is incredibly unlikely. However, without the help of a professional, you’re fighting an uphill battle.
Speak to your therapist rather than trying to prepare yourself on your own. They can help you with strategies to remain calm. They can work through your ideas for staying away from substances. And they can help you accurately break down your irrational fears.
As recovering addicts, we often think we have to do it all ourselves. But everyone needs help sometimes, and there is no sense in not taking advantage of the support you have.
2. Research mental health resources at your destination:
When you leave any psychiatric institution, whether, for addiction or other mental illnesses, you are likely to feel vulnerable. No matter how well you’ve prepared, the outside world can throw curveballs at you. It is reassuring to know that your mental health providers are nearby if you need them.
This can make travelling very stressful. Yes, it is easier than ever to contact your therapist from across the world. But what if you need care that can only be provided in person?
Do the research before you leave on your trip? Find out the locations of recovery centers, as well as any regulations they have for people who need ad hoc help. You are unlikely to need them, but knowing they are available will give you a lot more peace of mind.
3. Research AA and NA meetings:
Whether or not you used the 12-Step Program to recover, AA and NA meetings are where support is most readily available. The great news is that there are meetings all around the world and they welcome everyone.
The knowledge that there are others like you at your destination will make you feel a lot less isolated. You may be leaving your regular support system behind for a week or so, but you are not alone.
Traveling after leaving rehab can be stressful, but there are ways to prepare. Follow the above 3 steps to get some much-needed peace of mind.