I’m very excited and anxious about something. This week, I’m going on my very first business trip!
I’m excited because I get to travel. I’m anxious…because I’m going to be traveling.
Traveling comes with all sorts of temptations. Time in the airport when it would be easy to grab a quick drink before or after a flight. Time on the flight when it would be easy to drink. Time in the hotel room with the minibar. Dinners out.
I’m still new in sobriety (only just now coming up on five months). I’m nervous about being around all of these temptations. Coupled with the stress of the jam packed business schedule, I’m going to be looking for something to relax me.
Fortunately, there are things I can do to cope.
Coping ahead is a technique I like to use when I know ahead of time that I’m going to be in a dangerous situation. I can do things ahead of time to protect myself and my sobriety.
This is what I’m planning to do:
- Be prepared to page “A Friend of Bill”
I’ve only heard about this, and I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try it. Apparently in airports you can ask someone to page “A Friend of Bill” if you need to talk to someone else in AA.
I don’t remember where I heard this, but it stuck in my head. There’s a reason why things stick, you know? So if I find myself lingering too long near a bar in the airport, I know I can reach out to someone, anyone, who can talk me through the crisis.
- Call the hotel and have them empty the minibar
Being all alone in a hotel room with alcohol readily available is a recipe for disaster (for me). So I’m going to call the hotel the day I’m due to check in and ask them to remove all the alcohol from my room.
It feels strange to make a request (almost like I’m acting like a celebrity…I mean, who do I think I am?). But I cannot risk being small and diminutive here. I must stand up for myself and my sobriety, or I risk losing everything.
- Find an AA meeting near the hotel
I’m looking forward to this one…I’ve never been a visitor at another group before. If I get the chance, I’ll get to see how AA meetings work out on the West coast.
The most important thing about this, though, is that I will have the knowledge that there is a safe place for me to go for a reprieve.
It is a business trip after all. The schedule is hectic, and there’s no time for sightseeing. There might not even be time for a meeting. But knowing where/when one is will give me a sense of peace/serenity.
- Take snacks
This one is for the sake of my eating disorder. I need to pack food that I know I will be able to eat without triggering my desire to purge. The last thing I want to do is purge at 30,000 feet 😦
- Prep (as best I can) for jet lag
I can’t adjust to the time zone before I go because of my work schedule, but I can stop drinking coffee (or at least reduce it), and I can do better about staying hydrated.
I’m also planning on bringing some melatonin with me so that I can sleep well while I’m there and so that I can sleep on the red eye flight home.
Being bipolar, having a regular sleep schedule is extremely important, so this part of the trip is especially dangerous for me.
Doing all of this ahead of time will make my trip a much safer, more enjoyable experience. Doing the prep work of coping ahead means that I will be able to cope while I’m there, and if I can cope while I’m there I’ll be a productive employee and an all around decent human being.
My anxiety is still high, even after writing this post, but I’m more excited than anxious now. I know with the strength of my higher power and the support of those who love me I will be able to travel successfully sober.
Just for today, I am grateful to be sober. I am grateful for this opportunity to travel and be a productive employee. I am grateful for the support of my husband. I am grateful that I have a program of recovery. Just for today, I will focus on the positives in my life instead of the negatives, and I will be grateful for the strength and grace given to me as I need from my higher power.