This is a guest post from one of the guys in an SAL men’s meeting. Thanks for sharing your travel tips to help you stay sexually sober.
A couple times a year, I travel for work. This means staying in a hotel room by myself.
Before I started my recovery, this was an opportunity to indulge in my addiction.
I had plenty of free time and no accountability.
This may be a common story for other addicts.
I didn’t want every business trip to end in a relapse, so I created a plan to help me create a safe environment in my hotel room; I wanted to prepare myself for the onslaught of triggers and opportunities to fail.
This is what works for me.
These are the strict rules I follow when in hotel room by myself:
- No Computer. If I need to use the computer, go to the hotel lobby or another public area.
- No TV. If I really want to watch TV, go to the hotel lobby. When I get to my room, I unplug the TV and move the remote to a drawer away from the bed, or if one is available, lock it in the safe.
- No extra towels. This may sound weird, but for me extra towels that are replaced daily enabled me to act out. I call housekeeping and ask them to send someone to get the extra towels. I then put the do not disturb sign on the door so they don’t come and replace the towels every day.
- Use the hotel alarm clock. Set the alarm clock provided by the hotel and keep my phone away from the bed when I’m sleeping. I set a backup alarm on my phone but the distance requires me to get up to turn it off.
- Follow a routine:
- Get up at 5:30am every day
- Scripture reading
- Step Work
- Shower, get dressed
- Eat breakfast
- Daily Contact with someone from group
- Talk to my wife every night to check in.
- Go to bed as early as possible. The earlier the better.
I have also identified several vital behaviors or things I do to combat or prevent triggers.
- Focus on one day at a time.
- If I can’t sleep, write down my thoughts on a notepad. If there is something still on my mind that needs to be written in my journal, I will get dress and leave my room (see rule 1).
- If I’m still having problems with triggers or can’t sleep, I will take a walk around the hotel (this can be done inside if needed).
- When needed, reach out to wife, my sponsor, or someone else. Sometimes a simple text message is all it takes.
- Remember my default future if I act out. (Pain, frustration, madness, sadness, anger, trauma etc.)
- If possible go to a local meeting (SAL, ARP, or AA)
This works for me.
I encourage you to create your own plan, and discover what works for you.
How can this plan help you when you’re traveling?
Have you created a plan like this? If so, what’s working for you?
Thanks again for sharing your story.
* Attention: your comments will be viewed by other people in our community and potentially by the world wide web. If you'd like to remain anonymous, please only put your first name and last initial.
Your email may also pull up a picture of you depending on how you've set things up with your email provider. Unless you want to receive notifications of comments via email, you are welcome to put email@example.com. Thanks for your participation in the community.
7 thoughts on “Travel Tips to Help You Stay Sexually Sober”
I have created a plan like this. Almost identical. The major difference was that I had the hotel remove the TV from my room completely. The first time I called the front desk they asked if something was wrong. I simply said no. The hotel tech came in and he asked me again if something was wrong. I said no, I’m sure the TV worked just fine. He said that was the first time for such a request. Until I came back the following week. I asked the front desk to remove the TV and they simply said, “Sure.” The same tech came and removed it again. He then asked me why, and my response was that it was a discipline practice to keep myself productive. Maybe it was a copout excuse. But I didn’t need to explain that I’m an addict. The TV removal idea came from somewhere else. Something I read or even heard at group. It worked. Two full weeks in another country and NO TV! Traveled to the local parks. I went sightseeing. I was present.
That’s awesome. Never seen that happen before. Going without TV for me, even when I’m not traveling, is such a help. TV seems to be loaded with lust triggers.
I like all of the above suggestions. I have tried “bookending” when I travel and like it. I call my sponsor or someone else before I leave for the airport; then I call them when I land and report back in. Entertainment on the plane has been a problem for me. If I need the extra strength and support, I can call as I’m leaving to drive to the airport, call again when I reach the airport, call when leaving the airport to go to the hotel, etc. I like the accountability and it has strengthened me and allowed me to keep my sobriety and stay in recovery. Connection, connection, connection!
I have a plan that has worked very well. I basically stick to the same boundaries and dailies I have at home to maintain stability. I make sure to do all my dailies as I would at home. However, I soup them up a bit. I make a call to my wife and a guy from group at each airport, and then when I get to the hotel. I also make sure to keep contact with my wife multiple times throughout the day, as she can get triggered if she doesn’t hear from me for a long time, particularly later in the evening.
I keep all of my boundaries, but modify them for travel. This basically means I can’t use my computer at all in the room. I have to take it to the lobby if I want to do email, etc. I can’t use the TV at all. I typically unplug it, hide the remote, and throw away the TV guide.
Other than that, I just have to be very vigilant about being aware of my thoughts and emotions, and making sure to make calls and be 100% honest and accountable about how I am doing.
I also like to look for opportunities while traveling to grow spiritually. I go on walks, particularly if they have parks and stuff. I listen to recovery talks, LDS conference talks, etc. I do a lot of journaling.
I used to set a reward system with my wife where I’d get really good sex or something like that if I did well on my trip. I now realize that was a really bad idea and didn’t work anyway. More hurtful for her than helpful for me. So don’t do that! Don’t make your wife your travel police either – take responsibility yourself.
Travel has been a problem for me so much so that I would count on travel for my addiction. I would plan my addiction based on my travel. I would turn down opportunities to be with other members of my team or company and choose isolation and my addiction. At some point others just stopped asking me to join them as they knew I would say no.
As it happens I am traveling this week. I shared this topic with my wife and she and I feel like the Holy Spirit is working in us to have this blog while I am traveling.
I have been in recovery almost 18 months and I do have a travel plan (my sponsor shared his with me and it helped) these days and it works. My wife knows what I am doing. I now participate in other activities. I go to the lobby or another public area not for voyeurism but for non-isolation. If there are adult movies I call the front desk and have them blocked. I contact others and reach out. I use my knowledge of hotels to avoid those with adult movies.
I now get asked to participate with others and my connection at work has greatly improved as has my attitude.
I travel a lot – like every week. One thing I have done, although not consistently, is to consecrate my hotel room when I check in; this is a simple prayer to ask that my room be protected from evil and consecrated for good and the influence of the Spirit. This is only an effective petition to the degree I then follow up with “positive sobriety” and taking action in recovery, but I have found it helps.
I travel about every other week and have for many years. I realize I was using travel as an excuse – and life issues as an excuse, the weather, my wife’s mood, whatever. I realized I have to face excuses head on – do I want recovery, or do I want white knuckled abstinence? I will always find an excuse.
I’m still working on it. Bookending is very important. When timezones work, video chatting with my family morning and night for prayers. I have a lot of work on the computer I need to do at nights to prepare for the next day, so I can only be on my computer if I have a mission. When I start aimlessly surfing, I know it is time to shut it down. I can’t watch TV, because I’ll always surf and will find my way to HBO. If they have Netflix login, I can watch until 9pm. My wife can see my history and I know what shows I wouldn’t be embarrassed with her seeing.
I have a friend who takes the remote and the coax cable to the front desk.
I like to constantly have good music playing, or inspirational talks. I also consecrate the room and have kneeling prayers. I have had a picture of my family I used to take with me until the frame broke. Have also put the bible or Book of Mormon (Marriotts almost exclusively) out of the drawer and where I’ll see them to remind me.
I have to get out of my head. Calling, texting, emailing for support and getting on a call or attending a local meeting!!! Between ARP, SAL, and SA there are a lot of options. Some nights I attended a back to back until I was exhausted and went straight to bed.