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Travel-Sized Abstinence

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I just got back from a work trip to Connecticut. My work requires 30 to 50 percent travel, and for several years, eating while traveling has been very problematic for me. A plethora of foods at airports, restaurant choices with trigger foods, and being alone with a company paid per diem have proven to be a destructive combination.

Recently, my prayer for willingness was answered, and I embarked on abstinence with the support and guidance of a sponsor and food plan.

My abstinence began during a season when I did not have to travel, which helped me establish rhythms of recovery before I had to return to a regular travel schedule. Connecticut was my first work trip since becoming abstinent that required my traveling through airports.

At the airport, I encountered familiar smells, an overwhelming number of restaurant choices, and food memories that seemed to infiltrate my being. I was reminded of the multitude of lies that had seemingly permitted my past eating behaviors: “I deserve this” and “I’m tired” and “I’ve worked very hard.” The easiest to give in to had been “I am alone, and no one will know.”

This trip was different because I was equipped with new Tools. When I landed, I reached out to my sponsor and shared the challenge of getting through the airport unscathed. I admitted my battle with feelings of entitlement: “I deserve a treat because the travel can be so hard.” At a restaurant, connecting with my sponsor by phone helped. At the hotel, I listened to an OA podcast before I went to bed.

In the morning, I got on my knees and asked God for the gift of abstinence and continued willingness. I read briefly from OA literature and sent my food and list of gratitudes to my sponsor. I had an abstinent breakfast and went on to my work meeting. When I got to the airport to return home, I changed from my dress shoes to a pair of athletic shoes so I could walk in the concourse. On the plane, I wrote in my journal about all the feelings this trip stirred up in me. When I got home, I went to a meeting.

This first abstinent work trip was hard. I felt the pull and battled many lies. Today, I am grateful for how the Tools empowered me and protected me. I took the Tools with me when I traveled, and today I am abstinent. — Virginia W., Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio USA

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