Your travels start the day you leave your rehab center. Your road to recovery begins as many journeys do, with friends (in this case, the rehab staff and fellow addicts) wishing you “bon voyage,” and telling you to look after yourself. Yes, it’s your last day. Your next step is literally just that — one simple step out of the rehab center’s front door, and out into the world. To paraphrase U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong upon walking on the surface of the Moon, “That’s one small step for a man, but one giant leap for the new, reborn me.”
If you are struggling to overcome an addiction that saw your life turned into something you couldn’t live with anymore, I suggest you travel. You don’t need to spend your whole life traveling the world to exotic destinations. Just do it enough to be able to experience new places, new faces, different cultures, and different landscapes.
How do I know? I’ve been there. Through addiction and everything it brought. Until one day, I lost all hope. And I mean all hope. Rehab saved my life, as perhaps it has done yours. As addicts, we all lived a limited life, waiting on the next bottle or the next fix, focused only on ourselves and our escape from reality. Traveling, on the other hand, is a very real experience.
5 Reasons to Travel When Recovering from Addiction
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu
This article, based on my own experiences of what traveling has given me, gives you 5 reasons why it could be a good experience for you too, as you make your own way down the road to recovery.
1. A Transformed Perspective
One of the many benefits of traveling is finding a new perspective on what’s around you and what is over the horizon. It will certainly give you a new perception of the person you are now, post-rehab and post-therapy.
My point of view was utterly changed, first in my rehab treatment, and then through the joy of travel. I went from being the only important person in my life during my days of addiction to someone who realized that I was just a tiny, virtually minuscule part of this world. Talk about taking the pressure off.
2. New Discoveries
Another benefit of travelling is the countless discoveries you will make. You will learn about how other people live, and how they find happiness, even in conditions much harsher than those we knew as addicts. Sometimes the lessons about how they just survive from day-to-day will serve you well as you make your way down the long road to recovery.
Wherever your travels take you, you will find new and different landscapes and environments, sights and sounds, all guaranteed to transform your perspective. My own travels even brought me to live on a completely different continent than the one where I was born.
3. A More Open Mind
As an addict, your narrow, selfish life did absolutely nothing to open your mind to new experiences. The medical staff in rehab did their best to give you a healthier way of thinking, and traveling will build on this therapy. Travel literally forces you to become more open-minded about yourself and your daily experiences. It is true self-help.
4. A New Passport for Life
Your passport will get many stamps from the places you visit — I always insist on the immigration officials giving me my stamp! The good thing is that your passport will not have a stamp for the hell you visited as an addict. Your new passport for a life well-experienced will be your record of how you took life, gave it a firm handshake, even a hug or embrace, and then took it some place new.
5. A Direction
When you left rehab, your direction was unclear, and there weren’t exactly signposts to guide you on your way. Travel will present you with a path, and signs in whatever language is spoken in the country you travel to. Travel itself could even become your new road to recovery.
The Road Goes On…
My journey to recovery continues, as will yours. Sometimes the road is hard, even treacherous. But it is your road, and you should never forget that. In time, it will take you where you need to go.
Here I shared my 5 reasons to travel when going through recovery: perspective, discoveries, open-mindedness, a passport for life, and direction. If you too have stories of how travel has helped you with your own recovery, please feel free to share them with a comment below. Safe journey to you all.