I’m traveling across country right now, on a road trip taking me back to Santa Fe, NM, one of my favorite cities where I lived for over fifteen years. I’ll be home in California soon, but decided to post this while vacationing as it’s been very present in mind of late.
1. Your disease is going to give you the “Big Lie of Vacationing.”
You bet. Your addict mind will probably whisper something like, “I’m on vacation now, away from everyone who knows me. No one is going to see me. And, really, don’t I deserve a little break? After all, it’s a vacation!” There are many variations on this theme, so beware. A friend of mine once confessed that whenever he’d go on an ocean cruise, he would count the time as exempt from sobriety and so drink—after all, you’re in international waters, right? Now, his primary substance was crystal, but to maintain sobriety and work his 12 step program, he didn’t drink alcohol and would consider using any mind-altering substance a slip—unless on water, aboard ship. It was his addict mind’s clever variation on the Big Lie theme. What would have happened if, while onboard and very drunk, someone on the cruise would have offered him meth? It was not a far fetched idea, since these were gay party cruises. Thankfully, he was never offered meth and recognized the Big Lie for what is was and, now, can laugh at how devious his addict mind was at working overtime to get him using again.
2. If there’s no CMA available, find a local AA or NA group. And even if you don’t do the 12 Step program at home, try one out as a vacation bit of “sight seeing.”
This is to be around other recovering tweakers. You’re going for the feeling that you’re not alone. You can identify as a visitor from X, if they ask who’s visiting and, afterwards, you’ll usually get a personal welcome from at least a couple of people. It’s another way to experience the local color of your vacation destination.
3. More than ever, be careful with those highly-sexualized social media apps.
If you find yourself online searching, you’re much more likely to fall prey to #1, the Big Lie.
4. You’ll see meth everywhere if you look for it, so look for joyous examples of meth-free life instead.
Notice the awake crowds at a morning’s farmer’s market, the social buzz of a strange city coming home from a day’s work, the families out shopping together. Notice people going about their lives as normal people do (or if you’re surrounded by the beauty of nature, that) and rekindle that gratitude within you that you’re no longer using.
5. Always put sobriety first.
Or you won’t have your marriage, your job, your children, your other loved ones. Of course, you know all this already, as it goes for everyday life at home, too. But it’s particularly important to remember while on that “escape” from life that is often how we envision our vacations.