People go on vacations for a multitude of reasons and they usually all boil down to one thing, getting rest and relaxation. For a recovering addict like me though, I find there’s also something else that’s just as important to experience while on a vacation, and that’s to remain active in my recovery work no matter where I am in the world.
While a common thought in recovery from any addiction is that it’s ok to take a break from the recovery work when on a vacation, doing so for me has only ever breathed life back into my ego and my disease. That’s why I don’t take a break from recovery anymore…EVER. Not during my normal day to day week when at home and not on a vacation.
Recently, during my vacation to Massachusetts, while my partner was looking forward the most to doing a whale watch, I was more excited about going to a few meetings and doing a 12 Step commitment at a detox if possible.
It’s strange how my perspective has changed in recent years when it comes to my recovery life, as there was a time when I’d go on vacations where the last thing I’d ever do was attend any type of 12 Step meeting or volunteer to do any 12 Step work for even a small amount of time.
That’s because I was so selfish and self-centered and felt vacations were only meant to be about me getting my rest and relaxation. And on some level, maybe a vacation is precisely that for the average person. But for me, who lived with far more ego in life than Spirit, the last thing I ever want to do is anything that will breathe life back into that old, selfish, addiction-riddled self.
You see, that selfish part of me still exists and sometimes finds subtle ways to rear its ugly head, but I find that remaining active in my recovery, even when I’m on vacation, keeps that at bay, which is definitely a good thing.
I’ve travelled quite a bit in my recovery life and have always made sure to include participation in at least a few recovery meetings no matter where I’ve been. I’ve done that on cruises, in England, in the Grand Caymans, in Mexico, in Canada, and pretty much every place I’ve visited in the United States as well. And sometimes, I have even been able to volunteer at a detox or do a 12 Step call with a suffering individual while on a trip away, which ironically provides me more rest and relaxation than sitting on a beach might.
I’ve met far too many individuals who feel that taking a week off from attending meetings while on a trip away is totally safe and for them, maybe it actually is. But for me, it never has been, because those vacations from recovery don’t seem to stop when I return home. They continue on and on and on, until I find myself back in relapse mode and far away from the best place I could be in life, that being sober and in recovery.
So, that’s why I always make sure to build my vacations around my recovery these days just like I build my normal day-to-day life around it too. Because in doing so, I continue to stay healthy, spiritually-focused, and selfless-driven while on them, rather than become sick, unspiritual, and selfish, which are three traits I don’t ever wish to return to. Three traits that I know have a very strong potential to return by taking even a small break from recovery when on a vacation…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson