If you’re someone who struggles with a pornography addiction, sex addiction, or both, traveling on your own can be particularly worrisome. In order to act out sexually, you essentially need place and space…both conveniently offered when you are in your hotel room at night. The majority of my clients who travel for work act out more regularly and severely on the road than they do at home. How come?
When better to act out than when you have unaccountable time at your calling, not to mention a private room? Throw in a Wi-Fi connection and adult channels on the television and this makes for quite the “romantic” evening…for your addict, that is.
Perhaps at home you have family, familiar rituals, and work to keep you focused and occupied. You are more accountable. Going on a business trip, particularly if you travel alone, allows you the freedom to access all of the various channels you require to act out.
A change in environment can be exciting, scary…but regardless, it is different. A change in scenery often time wakes up your addict to indulge. “Wow, a new city. What or who can I see here?” “Who will ever know?”
Part of a successful recovery from an addiction to porn and sex involves building awareness of your potential pitfalls and developing plans to offset them. If you do travel and you do notice that being alone on the road triggers your acting out behavior, please consider these precautionary steps of action, or a travel plan.
1. Schedule your free time
If your travel day is structured already during the day and you only need to concern yourself with the evenings, try to add structure to that part of your day. Make dinner plans with others. Make plans to talk or Skype with family. Go to a movie. Find something that not just takes the place of acting out time but something you may actually look forward to.
2. Be Accountable
Make your time and whereabouts known to family members, friends, or work colleagues. If you are in recovery, such as personal counseling or groups, reach out to your help team. Let them know you’re traveling and need extra support.
3. Remove Obstacles
If you are staying in a hotel, have adult channels blocked so that you cannot purchase them. Consider blocking Wi-Fi if possible.
4. Do something nice for yourself or others
A big part of acting out on the road reflects feelings of loneliness or isolation, particularly from loved ones. Remember the old saying: “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping”? Maybe go out and buy your spouse and kids tokens of affection. If you are single, treat yourself to something cool—something that speaks to self-care perhaps.
It’s important to not just replace the behaviors with something else and trying to just stay chronically busy. I encourage my clients to journal and to explore the feelings they have while they are away. Typical themes include feelings of loneliness, anxiety, opportunity (as in we can NOT take advantage of this).
Make your plan. Get out in front of this issue and try to get the point where traveling becomes a less scary and opportunistic place for your acting out behavior.