How to Travel with Someone Recovering from Addiction

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If you know someone trying to recover from an addiction, you might have made a choice to be literally and figuratively with them on the road to recovery. Traveling with a recovering addict can certainly add much value to the relationship you hold so dearly. You can have a great time while also showing your support.

But that support definitely needs you to understand the boundaries. Your support is about building trust and not sounding threatening, giving encouragement without being judgmental, and knowing that sometimes the addict may want to share with you something but many times they won’t, so you have to respect their privacy. Nagging, lecturing, and criticizing will never get you anywhere with an addict. Sometimes even your best intentions might not help, but that’s not to be taken personally.  

Thousands of recovering addicts will tell you how travel has helped them. It opens up their minds to new ideas that never occurred to them. Perception also changes, with new experiences and discoveries that are a real eye-opener. 

Taking a trip might just be what both of you need. Yet, there are things you must take into account when traveling with a drug addict. Traveling with anyone, recovering addict or not, can sometimes be difficult enough, yet with a recovering addict, there are certain things to prepare for. 

Have a look at what you can do to make your journey a successful and fun one.

Pick the location wisely 

Choosing a place that is alcohol-centered would be a bad choice (say… Las Vegas).

There are a ton of places in the world that are more sober-friendly. If you’re looking at going abroad, look in the United Arab Emirates (like Dubai) or even the Maldives, where alcohol is limited.

Don’t choose a place familiar to a recovering addict. That might trigger an undesired effect, so, it’s best to choose a location that neither of you has been to before. 

Work around meetings

If someone’s been sober for 3 months or 3 years, you don’t want them to miss their meetings. The meetings are one of the biggest support lifelines, and help to continue sobriety. If you want, you can hit two birds with one stone and get treatment within the gated residential Transitions Recovery Program which is a rehab center that is responsible for the day to day routines for recovery, while also providing a holiday-type, tranquil life for addicts and their family. Such programs emphasize the need for the recovering addict to recover in mind, body, and spirit, and this becomes more possible when there is a relaxing atmosphere that encompasses the essentials that must be done to reach sobriety via a professional staff.

Make a plan

Having too much downtime in the hands of recovering addicts puts too much risk for things to go wrong. There are plenty more sober activities to do other than activities that encourage the use of a substance. It’s important for an addict to have some sort of routine to follow, and not live so haphazardly, especially when at the beginning of their sobriety. 

Give them space 

Maybe you want to go out, but they want to take a nap, so who wins? Nobody wins or loses; it’s a trip, not a competition. Be prepared to have to do some things on your own because your loved one just can’t join you or can’t do all the things you want. Don’t lay too much on them, especially if they’re early into their sobriety. If they want to meditate, let them. If they feel the need to talk to their sponsor, let them. Definitely, don’t get in the way of anything that is helping their sobriety.  

Take note of warning signs

Sometimes the warning signs that an addict is going to relapse are clear, sometimes not so clear. You might notice your loved one or your friend is dealing with anxiety. If you do notice something, you can ask them to talk, have them talk to their sponsor, or get them to a rehab center near you. The important thing is not to ignore it if the behavior continues.

Travel is a great way to get away from it all; all except your loved one’s sobriety. Both you and the recovering addict must make the sobriety the top priority on the list of things-to-do during your trip. Nothing else is more important. Through travel, recovery will get you closer than ever before for a healthy relationship.    

Have you traveled with someone in your life who struggles with addiction?

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About Author

Kelly Lewis is the founder of Go! Girl Guides, the Women's Travel Fest and Damesly. She's an optimist, an adventurer, an author and works to help women travel the world.

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