Saturday, July 30, 2016

Recovery Goes on Vacation

Well, of course recovery never really goes on vacation but recovering people do. Going to meetings while traveling is one of the smartest things we can do. It’s not just that we stay sober or abstinent longer and better, but vacations get better the longer we are in recovery.

One advantage of vacation recovery is that we learn to stress less about the “stuff” of travel. One of the best pieces of vacation advice I ever received from a sponsor is that “The trip begins when you are packing.” I used to be so miserable all through the process of getting to the place where I was going to be vacationing that the car ride and the airport and the
taxi rides were awful—for me and everyone around me. I wanted to get to the vacation place because I thought my adventure would begin then and there but that’s not true. Listen to the stories people tell about great trips…it includes the taxi and the airport and the train station and …

When I shifted my attitude—and it wasn’t easy at first—to say to myself, “This too is part of the vacation adventure”, then it became true and I began to have more fun. And then I could look for the good parts of that delayed plane and the weird taxi driver and the odd meal.

But the other reason that vacations get better with longer recovery is that 12 step meetings offer us an amazing resource: we have contacts in every city in the world.  People in twelve-step programs have instant travel assistance and access to great tourist advice anywhere we go.

Over the years I have been to meetings all over the United States and in France, Germany, Poland, Italy, England, Spain, The Czech Republic and Bermuda. I've gotten directions, restaurant advice, suggestions on local sites, invites to performances, guidance on public transportation, sometimes rides and always smiles, encouragement and patience with the language barrier.

There is something so fun and smart about asking a new twelve-step group for suggestions about where to eat, what to do, the best way to drive to the next city etc. I’ve been tipped off to bargain shopping, fabulous inexpensive restaurants, and the places to avoid. We don’t need a guidebook to tell us where the locals eat or shop—we have local “family” that we can ask. This is where AA and AAA meet up and it is such a bonus. We also learn that twelve-step principles always prevail regardless of location, politics or language.

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