Traveling for business is a very common venture for professionals. Many businesses include traveling in their employee contracts for the attendance of conferences, business meetings or working on-site with clients for a project. In any case, drinking is almost a social demand that comes with rubbing shoulders with other professionals. Alcohol is available on airline flights, in hotel room minibars, at fancy dinners and at any sort of business contract celebration. This puts the risks of relapse at an all-time high for any alcoholic in recovery.
The Risks of Relapsing During Travel
Travel is always a challenge for anyone working hard to stay sober. Not only are you surrounded by temptation, but you’re also separated from your support group. Even worse, you’ll probably be surrounded by others who might encourage you to drink. We live in a society where most travelers view business ventures as a mandate to drink, so traveling for business might feel like the ultimate test of your sobriety. But don’t worry. There are a few methods you can use to ensure that you don’t relapse during your business travels.
Fly Privately or in Coach
You’d be surprised how budget-friendly chartered flights can be. If the option is available to you, you can fly to your destination on a private plane. This way, you can book a “dry” flight ahead of time to avoid being faced with temptation at all. On the other hand, you can always fly coach to avoid the free alcohol served in business class and first class.
Plan Coping Strategies Ahead of Time
One of the most common relapse triggers is stress, and travel is notoriously stressful— especially flights. You can prepare yourself ahead of takeoff by practicing any stress-reduction techniques that work for you. This can include deep-breathing exercises, meditation, or even just listening to music. If you don’t get wound up, your old habits won’t get triggered.
Request a Hotel Room that Doesn’t Have a Minibar
This is very simple to do. Many hotels nowadays offer rooms that don’t include a minibar for patrons that are in active recovery. This, like flying dry, helps maintain the “out of sight, out of mind” approach.
Be Open During Dinner Meetings
It’s okay to be honest with your bosses and your peers. They will understand. In fact, some of them may even be in the same boat as you. You’re not going to let anyone down by choosing not to indulge in alcohol, even if you are celebrating a successful business trip. In fact, you’re more likely to be commended for your strength of character in putting your health first and finding another way to join the celebration. There’s always dessert!
Plan Any Free Time You Might Have in Advance
Traveling for business might not generate any free time, but when it does, be sure not to let it catch you off guard. If know ahead of time that you can expect some downtime, look at events going on in the area. There could be a movie you’d like to see or a museum you’d like to visit. Inviting your co-workers to come along is a good idea, too. Not only is it a great networking opportunity, but they might view your suggestions as a nice change of pace from visits to the hotel bar.
Bring Support with You
The worst part about traveling for business is leaving your support group behind. It can be scary to be apart from those who support your sobriety, but you have to remember that you’ll have support wherever you go. The world we live in is filled with technological conveniences that make life for the recovering addict so much easier. You can call your parents, text your friends, and even find local support groups using any number of free apps. Even if your support system isn’t physically with you, their support is literally at your fingertips.
Traveling for Business Doesn’t Have to Lead to Relapse
These and other methods of preparing for business travel can help keep you from relapsing when you step away from your routine. If you or someone you know has trouble staying sober during business trips, call The Lilly Pad of St. Augustine at help.for