The roar of the jet plane engine, the flashing of seatbelt signs and the soothing tones of the air hostesses softly whispering safety procedures precipitates yet another great escape from the manifesting consequences of the latest bout of chaos. The thrill of the chase, real or imagined, fires the blood as the cartoon coppers in your head stamp their feet and shake their fists at the departing airplane, bemoaning the loss of one more cardboard cut-out gangster.
This is the great geographical, another one of those specially re-defined recovery words which is basically a fancy way of saying ‘running away’. The actual format of this might look rather different from elegantly boarding the next international flight and is much more likely to materialise as loading a bunch of bin bags, filled with your meagre possessions, into a the back of your mate’s old banger and praying that this pile of tin, held together with gaffer tape and string, will make it as far as the next town. The essence of the action is the same whether funded by a black AmEx or a welfare check: run for the hills – get the ‘F’ outta dodge – skedaddle – leg it – bolt – nash.
The question is, will Mike’s dodgy motor or the even the speedy Boeing 747 be able to outrun the ultrasonic speed of the addict mind? That crazy head always comes hand luggage however hard you try to flush it down the airport toilet or leave it God Father-style on the pillow of the lover you are fleeing. Wherever you go it will follow like some unruly malicious gumshoe with light speed wings of 2 o’clock in the morning remorse and galloping obsession and compulsion. Doing a midnight flit may fire-fight the immediate consequences of the money owed or the embarrassing situation with your neighbour’s husband but does it actually straighten out any of the worm holes in your mind? The truth is that it’s all about being on the run from yourself…..the cabin fever is in you…..this is the height of insanity…..losing yourself is… well….impossible. Fixing the outside stuff is only going to work for so long and is there any real freedom in that?
Lies, Cunning Plans and the Narcissist
Most addicts have a rampant inability to deal with reality and take responsibility for themselves so the geographical provides a magnificently adroit manoeuvre to avoid these annoying aspects of humanity. (Hilariously true freedom comes from dealing with these things) The standard lie that gets told a thousand times over in different guises, is that this trip will solve everything, if you just get out of the place and get away from the contacts and relocate to somewhere else then you’ll have a fighting chance. The place and the people are the problem – not you. Addicts love a shrewd scheme, the bigger the idea the better, and a visit to the Golden Triangle to try and stop using smack or a little sojourn to Columbia to put a stop to the blow seems like a thoroughly likely and plausible plan when dreamt up late at night on the nod in a crack house. Sometimes the thought of stopping using is the last thing consideration…… an honest thing really….. and the trip is actually a pilgrimage to the source of your drug of choice.
Whatever the reason, an epic plan is great for the narcissistic addict personality which embraces exaggerated feelings of self-importance and under any of the above circumstances these are well nourished. A big plan, well executed is often the premise for a good story which in turn nourishes the need for excessive admiration required by the addict from their peers. Even if the plan is left in shreds (frequently the case) it usually births a tale of fabulousness: near misses, dastardly characters and big wins. The problem is, however good the intentions and however well this works for a while it will not last. A geographical is a bit like a deceptive hammock it supports and nurtures a deceptive illusion of freedom while the underlying fires of addiction wear away at the ropes sending you spinning towards the ground.
Travelling in Recovery
Travelling in recovery can be the exact polar opposite of this frenzied experience and throwing yourself out of your comfort zone and into the big wide world is one of the scariest and most rewarding things that you can do. However, it would be entirely false to believe that just because you are not using and drinking that it’s all going to be a sweet smelling bed of roses fed by crystal clear intentions. The fact is that even in recovery addicts, alcoholics and even civilians can use travel as a way to sidestep responsibility and weasel out on dealing with self. Just putting down a substance doesn’t immediately change every behaviour that went along with it and the truth is only your gut is going to know if you are running away from something or calmly walking towards a different life and embracing a wholesome adventure. The core question is: ‘are you still trying to be a fugitive from your own mind?’
Different Ways to Move
There are a million different ways to embrace the world in recovery and you don’t necessarily have to go to the extreme of packing your whole life in a suitcase and buying a one way ticket. For those experiencing the first tentative shake of their flight feathers, who want to build their confidence and avoid temptations in a safe and organised fashion there are a variety of sober vacations on offer, some of which even provide a 12 step aspect where you can continue working on your recovery with like-minded people. More often than not these are facilitated in hotels or villas with a zero tolerance policy to alcohol and drugs and often include organised trips.
If being constrained by a package tour is a hellish notion; one man’s heaven is another man’s hell after all, another great way to provide focus to your travels is Voluntourism which offers a way, not only explore new places but also to give back to the community. This is a great way of building self-esteem and it’s always easier to meet people and practice those lost conversational arts when you are involved in the same thing. Many of these trips involve being of service to local communities and doing things like building wells for clean drinking water, teaching basic hygiene skills, building homes, tree planting and teaching English. Often this type of trip requires travellers to stay in the communities that they work with providing further opportunities to understand the many hued lives that people lead upon this amazing planet.
Alternatively, if relaxation and learning something new is high on your agenda there are a whole variety of retreats that usually incorporate spiritual and wellness aspects to their schedules. These can be a great way to deepen your self-knowledge and connect with people out with the circle of drug and alcohol recovery who are focused on living their lives in a healthy way. So, whether you jump on a plane with a vague plan and a backpack or plum for something more structured, travelling clean and sober is about being a part of the world not running away from it.
Feed your Head
In recovery, with a ruck sac full of tools and principles there is no longer any need to try and sink your head, loaded with rocks to the bottom of the nearest harbour, it is a welcome companion. This is a time to feed your spirit with the liberty of rolling roads, open your mind and connect to long forgotten or never discovered aspects of life. It takes courage, real leathery courage and true grit of the soul to just get out there and have the balls to love true freedom. Travel is a great way to find your spunk, surprise yourself, make a few mistakes, find new passions, meet people and revel in the new life that is all yours should you chose to take it.
If you want to book a ticket to start your journey into recovery from drugs and alcohol call one of our expert advisors at Seasons Luxury Rehab today to find out how we can help.