Travel Sober

Traveling "In Place"

By Bob Kocher

March 20, 2020

I thought it might be a bit challenging to write a travel blog when we are being encouraged/ordered depending where you live to stay at home. Then, today I opened an email from Mary Ramos of Acadia Health Services and it got me thinking about the great gift we have as people in recovery, EACH OTHER!

I've included her correspondence below.

In my letter that was emailed yesterday I talked about the experience of our group cruise that finished last Sunday.  In the midst of a continuing stream of negative and conflicting commentary, our group managed to thrive.  As an observer and participant, I was reminded that I am powerless over people, places, things, diseases and at the same time not powerless around my choices.

During the trip, Fr. Tom talked about the difference between introverts and extroverts, how we communicate and how we get our energy revitalized.  Introverts need quiet and space while extroverts gain energy from interacting with people. Perhaps a way to be helpful to each other, is to consider appropriate doses of stretching our comfort zones by doing the opposite of our normal tendencies.  Introverts be sure to reach out and extroverts take time to be good listeners.

In her article, Ms. Ramos points out that, "The opposite of addiction isn't sobriety, it's connection."  I like that concept a lot.  And apparently so does our wonderful program(s).  Communities are forming phone meetings.  There are services such as Free Conference Call, www.freeconferencecall.com and Zoom Video Conferencing, www.zoom.us that are great resources for establishing meetings in your area and beyond.  TravelSober is organizing a meeting schedule for our 30 year home away from home group.  Anyone will be welcome to join in.
This is a time when travel outside our comfort zones will be a reality for an undetermined period of time.  What a great opportunity to share the experience with like-minded friends and fellows!  The first meeting I had with my sponsor, Tom O., when I was emotionally bleeding and on fire, resulted in hearing something from him that changed my life.  He said, "If you don't drink between meetings, do what the program asks of you, work steps and pass your experience on to others, you can turn ANY NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE."  Tom's words have proved true to this day.

The March 20 selection from the "The Language of Letting Go" is a powerful statement on "Releasing".  It reads: 

"Let fears slip away.  Release any negative, limiting or self-defeating beliefs buried in your subconscious too.  These beliefs may be about life, love or yourself. Beliefs create reality.
Let go.  From as deep within as your fears, resentments, and negative beliefs are stored, let them go.  Let the feeling or belief surface.  Accept it; surrender to it.  Feel the discomfort or unrest.  Then let it go.  Let new beliefs replace the old.  Let peace and joy and love replace the fear.
Give yourself and your body permission to let go of fears, resentments and negative beliefs.  Release that which is no longer useful.  Trust that you are being healed and prepared for receiving what is good."
"Today. God, help me become willing to let go of old beliefs and feelings that may be hurting me.  Gently take them from me and replace them with new beliefs and feelings.  I do deserve the best that life and love have to offer.  Help me believe that." 
We look forward to traveling "in place" with you for a while.  And then, re-connecting face to face when we can enjoy life and travel with each other in recovery.  
As always, be and travel safe and TravelSober.
The Impact of Social Distancing on Mental Health and Recovery

Amid concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us are likely worried and overwhelmed with trying to keep ourselves and our families safe. During this time, news outlets and health organizations strongly encourage social distancing for our well-being.
Most individuals practice social distancing in one way or another; if not consciously, then due to the extensive amount of closures and cancellations that impact our conferences, academic institutions, and more. Many businesses have switched to remote operations until further notice, and public locations that remain open have limited capacities. While these regulations may help keep us physically safe from COVID-19, they do not support our mental health.

A significant amount of social distancing can lead to extreme isolation, which can be especially harmful to individuals who are struggling with mental health concerns and substance use disorders. As Lipi Roy, M.D., MPH, recently shared in a Forbes Magazine article, "A common saying [in the recovery community] is that the opposite of addiction isn't sobriety, it's connection."

One of the core aspects of treatment for substance use concerns is the use of personal relationships and social support to influence long-term recovery. Our individual seclusion can negatively impact the recovery process and often worsen symptoms. Individuals who are actively struggling with the effects of mental health concerns or addiction may find it even more difficult to reach out for much-needed support during a time that discourages physical contact.

As your local Treatment Placement Specialist® (TPS), I am always here to support you. My aim is to ensure that every person has access to the resources they need to stay on the path to recovery. Our team is focused on making this isolation easier for anyone who is struggling.
For more information on how to protect yourself from COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To learn more about the resources that TPS can provide, visit www.TreatmentPlacementSpecialists.com.
Yours in wellness,
Brittanie Ramos, MS