An Alcoholic's Guide to Airports
I travel 5-7 days a weeks. I am a member of airline clubs purely because I liked having free alcohol. Airports and airplanes provide unlimited access to alcohol. Traveling has been one of the most difficult things while being sober, but I learned to exist and travel without a glass of wine in my hand. It is not easy. But, it is doable. I even sat in business class last week on a free upgrade and resisted free Prosecco. (Still patting myself on back.) Here are some tips on how to avoid triggers while on an airplane or in an airport.
1. Arrive early.
Avoid the stress of what happens when you miss a flight and have to wait 2-5 hours on the next one. Airports start out with lines, lines, and more lines. TSA adds insult to the stress with their lack of smiles and sometimes over does the "I'm in charge" personality. Lines can be extremely long even on a good day. 2-3 hours should be enough time to leave you relaxed. Or, avoid missing your flight by getting the new TSA precheck. See number 2.
2. Get TSA precheck.
Avoid most of the stress of security by paying $85 for a 5 year membership that allows you to fly through security much faster. In July of 2016, the average wait time for people with TSA precheck was 5 minutes. You need to apply and get approved.
3. Do not go in the Airline Clubs or restaurants that serve alcohol.
You do not not need a $20 chili's cheeseburger, it's not that good. There are plenty of to-go options. The cheese cubes in the club are not that great either. But, if you must go into a place serving alcoholic see number 4.
4. Make your non-alcoholic drink fancy.
Order sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice. You will have to be around alcohol on the airplane, so stick a lime in your Diet Coke. Do something that makes it feel like you are getting a treat. If you're on my flight I will give you a mean mock-tail and a high-five.
5. If someone next to you is drinking on the plane, move.
A seat is a seat. As long as you are not moving into an upgraded seat, you are fine. If the plane is full, go "stretch" in the galley or bathroom until he/she is done drinking. If you're lucky enough to have someone else you know on board, put your husband/child/coworker in between you and the drinker.
6. Use coping skills to prevent idle hands.
Read, color, work, talk on the phone, play games on your phone, watch movies. Whatever is in your bag of coping skills, bring it.
7. Bring natural ways to calm your nerves.
Bring essential oils or a meditation series on your iPod. The oils can detract from the smell of alcohol and relax you. The meditation guides will take you out of a nervous situation if you feel overwhelmed.
Never take any other prescription pills to ease anxiety.
A lot of people think popping an Ambien or Xanax on the plane is a good idea. It is not. Any drug effects you much more when in a pressurized cabin. It is especially bad for addicts because there is no mind altering drug you should ever take. Because....one is too many and 100 is never enough.
Remember, you are traveling for experiences. You want to remember them. You want to look back with fond memories and not regret. Remember why you are sober. Never forget. Happy jetting! Safe travels!