“I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.”- Douglas Adams
For those taking their first step over the threshold of their rehab center and walking slowly outside of its confines, the journey of addiction recovery may be short, but filled with a lot of emotions: hope, relief, apprehension, trepidation, even pure fear.
The answer to this is simple. All of us experience some form of emotion when about to embark on a journey into the relatively unknown.
As a recovering addict, such short journey magnifies those emotions to the extreme. However, as you take those first few steps into what you hope is a new life for you, free from those things that put you there in the first place, please remember this: the rest of your life will continue to be a journey, no matter how you look at it.
Take it from someone who has been here. You can decide your destination, you can decide those places that you visit, those people that you will remember as friends made, and the sights that you see.
Someone once said (can’t remember who), that travel broadens the mind. As a person going through addiction recovery, your thinking will be very narrow, very self-focused, and very reserved. In the early stages, this is vital, without a doubt.
Yet, there is something you can do to help such thinking grow back to where it used to be. To travel. To simply pack a few things and hit the road. You do it on a plane, on a train, in a car – however you choose.
This article will explain the four reasons why traveling helped with my addiction recovery; my whole recovery experience was enhanced by simply choosing to go and see some of the worlds I had yet to see.
How traveling helped with my addiction recovery:
Recovery begins by showing addicts new ideas that can even seem unthinkable, compared to our usual way of viewing the things that affect us. We are encouraged to be as open-minded as possible, to look at these ideas and think of how we can implement them into our own lives. However off-the-wall they may seem.
Early in addiction recovery, we are told to really look into ourselves, through self-reflection, honesty, even prayer. During one such period of distinct personal honesty, I remembered exactly how I used to feel when traveling.
Even though I was far from where I lived, wherever I was, just seemed like home. It reminded me that different places provide different experiences and different ways of viewing the world. In other words, new, not so off-the-wall ideas for living.
In one of the books written by the previously quoted Douglas Adams, he describes a futuristic machine, where those placed inside were given a quick glimpse of exactly their role in the universe as a whole, where they fit into it, and just how important they really are.
Apparently, it’s a real eye-opener for those who enter. If only that machine actually existed. I’m sure it would take a great deal of the pressure of those leaving rehab.
As addicts, our problems can feel unmanageable, too immense to cope with. But we are human. We make mistakes, and we cannot be expected to make the right choices every single time. And we are just a tiny, tiny part of what’s around us.
Traveling provides a similar perspective. You may set foot in another country, see new cultures and new ways of living. Those things will surely continue after you have gone away. However, there is nothing wrong with taking a little part of that new knowledge with you.
I once had a friend (not an addict) who, whenever he encountered a problem, he simply went away. He wasn’t running away. He was giving himself perspective. He usually came back, made the right decision, solved the problem, and got on with his life.
So traveling makes you more open-minded and gives you a better perspective. On the other hand, traveling has another great side effect: discovery.
Regardless of where you travel to, you are guaranteed to find something new, something to be discovered. It could be new cuisine, a new hobby, or even a new truth about yourself. Whatever it may be, it will make you a better, more defined person.
Remember that apprehensive, yet hopeful person who underwent addiction recovery a while ago? Imagine them traveling around, with no fear, only hope. It could be YOU. And that’s the best discovery you will make, my friend.
4. Your New Addiction
If you have had the nerve to book that plane ticket or book your seat on that huge traveling bus, take it from me: you have come a long way down your road of addiction recovery.
For many, it really IS stepping into the unknown. The grounding your rehab gave you, coupled with support of family and friends, has got you to this point. Plus, you deserve it.
Before you know it (and you have my sincere best wishes on this), traveling will be your NEW addiction – healthy, educational, enlightening, and, ultimately, personally fulfilling.
The Road Less Traveled…
Recovery can be a lonely place for many. Traveling will remove that loneliness.
Recovery may have left your thinking very open-minded. Traveling will open your mind.
Recovery may have thrown your perspective up in the air. Traveling will give it back to you.
Recovery may leave you contemplating your old life. Traveling can help you discover a new, more meaningful one.
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Traveling left me with a profoundly different way of thinking and gave me much-needed perspective. Yes, I left my rehab apprehensively, wondering whether what was beyond the gates had really changed. But it was ME that had changed – and traveling proved it.
So there you have it, the four reasons that traveling helped with my addiction recovery. These same things still apply today, believe me. If you have found other reasons to enjoy travel as part of your recovery, please feel free to share with a comment below.