Traveling away from home over the holidays can be a difficult time for a compulsive overeater like me. Surprisingly, I am still compulsive away from home! Because I travel often, I’ve developed some techniques that help me stay abstinent and in recovery on the road, especially over the holidays.

To set up recovery before my trip, I do these things:

  • Visit and look up meetings at my destination location.
  • Enter all nearby meetings into my schedule before any other appointment or activity, so I can “fit my holiday trip into OA.”
  • Call the listed contacts for specific meetings to verify the info and let them know I’ll be visiting. This way I don’t feel like a stranger when I arrive.
  • Go to the intergroup website of my destination’s area to find names; I call them before I leave.
  • Ask for rides to meetings if I won’t have a car; or plan a ride share or route using public transportation.
  • Put my Big Book, OA books, and daily meditation books onto my smartphone.

Recovery while flying takes planning, and planning ahead is key. I do not leave my food to chance. I have a large insulated cooler bag that fits nicely in the plane’s overhead bins. If it gets too heavy, I bring a small, fold-up wheelie to schlep it through the airport. This is how I pack for my plan of eating:

  • I pack my lunch in large plastic containers.
  • I put a few frozen ice packs inside; all frozen items, including ice, are usually allowed through security.
  • I keep several large plastic zipper bags filled with ice. I dump the melt before going through security, then refill on the other side. This technique keeps the food nice and cold for the entire trip. I can refill my ice bags at the arriving airport too.
  • I drink lots of water on the plane. I bring an empty water bottle or get free water in a large cup from an airport food vendor. I carry it onto the plane and request flight attendants to refill it often.

I practice recovery at my destination:

  • I request a hotel room with a refrigerator. Hotels will not charge extra if this is for medical purposes.
  • I pack some breakfast food and buy the rest at the hotel or a nearby store.
  • I plan ahead for meals and go online to look up local restaurant menus.
  • I go to meetings and make outreach calls to local members.
  • I use videoconference tools and social media to stay in touch with the Fellowship.
  • If face-to-face meetings are not available, I attend telephone meetings.

On the road, I do all the recovery activities I do at home. My disease never takes a vacation! As one of my mentors used to ask me, what am I not willing to do to recover while traveling over the holiday?

— Greg L., Scottsdale, Arizona USA

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