"That's an AA meeting." He replied.
"Oh, those poor people!" I gasped. "Imagine going on a cruise and not drinking." Back then I really couldn't imagine not drinking on vacation. In those days a cruise ship was a giant vessel filled with bars, fruity drink specials, and an epaulet clad designated driver.
Nowadays, cruising for us is an entirely different experience. No more bed spins enhanced by a wavy ocean. No more passing out after dinner and missing the show. And best of all—no more drama.
We recently returned from a lovely 7 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise. This was our second time traveling with a sober group, "The 2nd Annual Gratitude at Sea Cruise." On board we enjoyed meetings, workshops, fellowship at dinner, and great company on shore excursions.
Imagine bringing your best friends with you on vacation. Not the ones you have to associate with because you work with them, or because you happen to be related. No, true friends who care about you, people you don't have to impress.
There are several advantages to traveling with a group in recovery. One is having your own built in support group. If the sound of the blender at the Lido Deck bar starts my brain churning I have the cabin numbers of shipmates who will be more than happy to help me play that tape to the end.
The truth is, I'm rarely tempted. If I were I simply wouldn't go. So if you are in your first weeks or months of sobriety a cruise might not be for you.
Another advantage of traveling with sober friends is the instant connection. How many times have you heard folks newly returned from a trip say, "We met these wonderful people..."? On our cruise it felt like we had brought all of the wonderful people with us.This connection comes from being with others who are actively working a spiritual program. Instead of sitting on bar stools lying and crying, grasping at superficial relationships, we share our deepest thoughts in a nonjudgmental atmosphere.
Hebrews 10:24-25 "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another..."
Also, being with a group in recovery ensures that people will actually show up at the shipboard meetings. A common complaint of sober cruisers is that the meetings are tiny, and sometimes unattended. We were able to work with our travel agent, who happens to be my husband, to schedule all of our on board activities at times that suited our needs.
My favorite reason for cruising with a sober group is that it is just plain fun. Some of the activities that I have enjoyed on my 2 sober cruises include renting motorized bikes in Cozumel, hiking to Damajagua Falls in The Dominican Republic, diving a shipwreck in Grand Cayman, and relaxing on a private beach in the Bahamas.
|Rob and I enjoying the beautiful beach at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas|
|Damajagua Fall, Dominican Republic|
Anyone who has traveled has most likely experienced waiting in line, looking for luggage, unexpected delays, last minute itinerary changes(We did thanks to Hurricanes Irma and Maria) or other inconveniences. It's just part of the travel experience. But when these typical annoyances come up with folks in recovery we are much more likely to shrug and take them in stride. People who have experienced humility and gratitude laugh the loudest. After all, we are not a glum lot!
For more information on cruise groups or to receive information on next year's Gratitude at Sea Cruise call 877-554-2789 or visit: www.cruiseone.com/rditmars.