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How does traveling help to overcome addictions?

Traveling has scientifically proven benefits and advantages. Depending on the person, it can have many meanings as well. There is no difference if it’s just a summer holiday or more like a personal, sort of a pilgrim journey. Chances to learn more about the world around you and yourself are always present.

Since the dawn of time, people travel and like traveling. Even the thought itself, about new still unexplored places, can produce that sweet, delightful feeling. The same goes for memories collected during previous travelings. The joy of visiting places that we already know and love can sometimes have almost a therapeutic effect on us.

Traveling has scientifically proven benefits and advantages. Depending on the person, it can have many meanings as well. There is no difference if it’s just a summer holiday or more like a personal, sort of a pilgrim journey. Chances to learn more about the world around you and yourself are always present.

When we start planning our trip, one part of us enters in a special mood. Our thoughts become dedicated not only to work, school, and everyday problems but also to something that we desperately need. A feeling that we can experience something different, something unlike what we usually do.

So, what is traveling? It’s an opportunity to explore nature and different cultures, meet people or taste new cuisines. There is no better way to learn more about other places, practice your knowledge in foreign languages, sharpen your social skills, boost your creativity or get new ideas. It’s a road to many discoveries if you are ready for them.

There is no doubt that traveling can have a positive influence on our life. But, does it have the same benefits for addicts? Their recovery starts the moment they call an addiction helpline ( or similar rehab numbers, to seek help, advice, and information about treatments. From that moment forward, they have to change their lives significantly, replace old habits with new ones, and face various challenges and obstacles. It’s more than removing addictive substances from the body, avoiding the withdrawals or sticking to rehabilitation procedure. During the treatment, the life of alcoholics or substance users can have many ups and downs. Unfortunately, it’s a life-long struggle to follow the rules and make it successfully, from one stage to the next one. 

Facing the world after rehab can be extremely challenging for the former addict. Fear of being judged, anxiety, depression, the danger of relapsing are just a few of many ordeals. If this is a difficult time for them, then is there a possibility that traveling can be counterproductive? Understandably, the concern about traveling after the recovery can arise, but according to experts, addicts should make travel plans and execute them if they want. However, it shouldn’t be done without adequate preparations, mentally and knowledge-wise. 

Former addicts can use several available advising sources. In case of doubts, they can always consult a recovery helpline or their rehab center and ask for guidance, to learn how to avoid possible triggers. Understanding why people use substances while traveling, learning how to practice healthy coping mechanisms or how to research and make every step of the journey will be a good way to start planning. Traveling is also an excellent way to relax and decrease the level of anxiety. But, without careful organization, it can also raise the level of stress, something that no one wants to experience while traveling.

Probably the most important benefit that addicts can have from visits to new places, especially if it’s happening immediately after the recovery, is the sense of direction. Leaving the rehabilitation center or group therapy can be the major source of insecurity and fear. In those moments, the future may seem unsure, almost blurred. Thinking about the destination, possible ways to reach it, accommodation and other travel-related details will not only restore their decision-making power but will also bring relief, as they know what is the next step in life.

Many people begin to use substances to escape from everyday life and to have some fun, away from pressure and problems. Traveling can show them how to indulge themselves with some substance-free activities. Visits to magical, hidden gems of nature and important archeological sites combined with the discovery of cultural and cuisine differences could be a thrilling experience for some. Diving into these moments of pleasure, joy, tranquility or different kind of reality, can serve as an inspiration for former addicts. Some of them might look at life from a fresh perspective and start feeling more enthusiastic about possibilities, chances, and options for new beginnings.

Another way that a journey can help a person coping with addiction problems is enhanced physical and mental engagement. Regular physical activity is highly recommended to everybody, but for addicts, it can be sometimes crucial for their successful recovery. Walking and traveling are almost inseparable, and if they add swimming or hiking to it, they’ll get a winning combination. 

Interactions with various people and resolving interesting challenges that roads throw at them are great opportunities for self-growth. Away from usual struggles and out of comfort zone, there’s no better way to boost strength and revalue life. If the danger of relapse occurs while traveling, they can contact their counselor, rehab center or addiction helpline at any moment, for advice or support.

Every story about addiction is different, so there is no universal rule or recommendation about traveling, that is applicable to every case. However, if you are a former addict and you are considering a possibility to hit the road, don’t hesitate to seek an opinion from professionals or people who have personal experiences. Answers to questions “should I travel” or “is it safe for my condition” are one phone call or visit away. There are 24-hour addiction helplines, people who are trained to give these answers or instruct you where to seek one. There are support groups, websites with chat options to discuss these and similar topics, anonymously. 

If you plan everything carefully you’ll probably return from your journey with beautiful memories and fresh experiences. Something new to talk about, with your family, friends, and colleagues.