A Story of Recovery:

Unpredictable Travel

Last summer while I was traveling home from the annual Boston business convention, I boarded my plane and couldn’t wait to land in California by noon and have my abstinent lunch with my fiancé. There was no reason that I could think of why I wouldn’t be landing on time; my plane was on time, the passengers and pilot were all ready for takeoff, and I was excited to be home soon.

However, as we were approaching our takeoff strip, our plane was suddenly hit on the ground by another plane that wanted to take off at the same time. Wow! The wing was severely damaged and we would be stuck in Boston indefinitely. I was so angry because now I would not be able to spend the entire day in California with my fiancé, and I would have to go through the headache of rescheduling my flight back to California. I was completely powerless over the situation.

I called my Mom in California to vent my frustration about being stuck on this plane indefinitely and not being home to California as planned. The first thing my Mom asked was, “Do you have your lunch with you?” For some reason I was overwhelmed with emotion when my Mom asked me this, because she is not in FA and, at times, has not shown support for my FA program. By asking this question, I could see she really understood just how important my abstinence is to me and the health of my entire family!

I did have my lunch with me, but I did not have my dinner. I would come to learn a valuable lesson from this—when traveling, just bring all your food for the day! I was convinced that I would be home in time to have an abstinent meal out at a restaurant for dinner. I called my sponsor and was able to reach her. I was boarding the next plane and told her what had happened and told her, “Don’t worry; I am sure I’ll land in time to get to a restaurant for dinner.”

She did not think that I should rely on this plan and suggested that I pick up an abstinent meal at the next airport as soon as I landed, and that I wait there for my fiancé to pick me up.

I REALLY did not like this answer at all. Why was she being so uptight? Well, it turned out that we did not land on time and that all the restaurants that were open on a Sunday night at this airport only had abbreviated menus. Thankfully, my sponsor answered the phone again and walked me through each kiosk and told me what to get for dinner.

I was so humbled by this experience. I was exhausted from so many hours of flying and stopping at different airports. If I had not called her and taken her suggestion, I wouldn’t have been entering a restaurant until very late at night. I was grateful for her calmness and how she helped me choose an abstinent meal when it was not straight forward.

What this experience taught me, after ten years of abstinence, is to bring the meal I know I will need, but also to pack the meal that I don’t think I will need.  Now, even if my (now) husband and I are just going to visit family a few cities away for part of the day, I’ll ask him, “Do you think we will be home in time for dinner?” He always responds with, “Just bring it—that way you’ll have peace of mind if anything comes up.”

I have learned my lesson. Traveling is completely unpredictable and, as a food addict, I have so much more peace of mind as long as I know my food is always in order.


This story was originally published in the connection Magazine. Subscribe to the connection Magazine for more stories of recovery. Or submit your own story of recovery.