The Importance Of Recovery While On A Vacation

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

A Recovering Sex And Love Addict’s Trip Down Memory Lane…

Being back in the Boston area this week, after four years of absence since moving to Toledo, has definitely been interesting. While I have plenty of good memories here, mostly from the 12-step recovery realm, I, unfortunately, also have plenty of bad memories too, all of which stem from the sex and love addict behaviors I used to regularly engage in here.

During five of the seven years I lived in this area, I addictively chased after three specific individuals, each who were married or in a relationship already with someone else. I lost sight of myself in the process and along the way, I also lost sight of all of the good morals I learned in my recovery work, including honesty and integrity, each of which totally went out the window.

Driving around here these past few days has definitely reminded me of this. Constantly seeing restaurants, parks, golf courses, movie theaters, and various other places of interests where I hung out with these individuals and was only focused on one thing, has caused me to reflect on just how much precious time I lost from this sick addiction.

This area has a lot of God-made nature beauty within it and many magnificent things to see and partake in as well, and yet, I spent most of my time here focused, obsessed really, on the people I was addicted to, rather than on any of that splendor.

And another sad truth is I don’t remember much of the social activities I did here either, as much as I remember the far too many attempts I made to sleep with these three individuals. This is without a doubt the very reason why it’s taken me four years to return here, as I tend to be reminded here more of these bad memories than the good.

In all honestly, I lost myself for most of the time I lived in this Boston area. And to be more accurate, I lost myself in these three specific individuals. I also lost sight of God because of it and I lost sight of me and the beautiful soul God gave me too. Instead, most of my sight was geared towards engaging in the sex and love addiction and that part of me remained mostly in control, leading me to regularly doing so many things that I used to be very ashamed to admit.

I’m so thankful I’m six years removed from any of those behaviors today and I’m so thankful I’m sober from this addiction now too. Because at least during this week-long trip, I’m now able to create new memories, ones that aren’t deeply enmeshed anymore in an addiction that used to taint my mind, body, and soul on a regular basis, and ones that will forever be remembered on a much more positive level…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Empty Hotel Room Trigger…

Currently, I’m visiting my closest friend for a few days without my partner present and am staying in a hotel room completely alone. For the normal, average human being, this might sound like a great time to simply relax and have some quiet moments by oneself. But, for an addict, especially one that once succumbed regularly to sex and love addiction-based behaviors for years on end, it can be quite triggering and overly challenging to handle.

You see, for anyone who’s dealt with sex and love addiction, being in a hotel room in general often brings back memories of acting out experiences. In my case, I spent years in prior relationships travelling quite a bit to various places around the world without those I was dating and it was during those trips where I’d frequently engage in behaviors in my hotel rooms that were definitely sex and love addiction-based. But, thankfully, I haven’t felt any of those desires whatsoever on this trip thus far and I’m crediting that to both the 12 Step recovery work I’ve done surrounding this addiction and my growing relationship with God.

It’s my 12 Step recovery work that continues to remind me of all those negative consequences that used to happen to me after acting out on those travels alone. It also continues to remind me of plenty of other negative consequences that haven’t happened to me yet, but still could, and I most assuredly don’t want to experience any of them. As for God, I have to say, it’s been my growing relationship with Him that’s led to me adhering to a higher set of standards and moral values, ones that have helped me to clearly see all the pain I used to cause those I was dating. But, even more importantly is how God has helped me to clearly see the destructive impact any acting out in my hotel room would cause my partner.

Regardless, on my first night away on this trip, I actually was presented with multiple opportunities where I could have acted out in my former sex and love addiction. But, I didn’t. Instead, I worked on my blog, I meditated, and I watched a little television before turning in. That’s quite an achievement for a guy like me who was never truly monogamous with anyone in my past. That’s why I must say, waking up alone in the morning in this partner-less hotel room, day after day on this trip has been pretty great. Why? Because of the many times I woke up next to someone I barely knew and would feel so disgusted with myself.

My focus today is on maintaining a fully monogamous relationship with my partner and jeopardizing that with a short sexual interlude in this hotel room with someone else isn’t worth it. The damage it used to cause me and my partners in the past was always high and usually impacted me on every level including physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

So, as I turn in tonight, alone, and without any addiction-based behaviors going on, I find myself not feeling triggered at all. Instead, I’m feeling blessed to see the benefits of my 12 Step recovery work and my relationship with God. Ultimately, I know it’s because of these two things that I continue to remain sober, especially when travelling alone and having a hotel room all by myself…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson