For addicts and alcoholics in recovery, staying sober can be a matter of life and death. Don’t let being sober stop you from traveling to places that are on your bucket list or visiting friends who live across the map. Maintaining one’s sobriety can be particularly challenging while traveling due to being away from your support system and your normal routine. A great way to stay sober while traveling is to find a meeting in your new location. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to find 12 step meetings while traveling.
I recently went to an AA meeting while in Banff National Park in Canada with my family, so I’ll show you step-by-step how I found the meeting online and then attended it. Going to meetings in other cities and countries is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. I love to see the similarities and differences in meetings in my hometown. Everyone is always very friendly and welcoming. So far, I have been to a meeting in three countries!
How to Find 12 Step Meetings While Traveling
I always look up meetings before I travel, so that I can plan 1-3 meetings into my schedule. Then, I will usually make one of the meetings. Unexpected events always come up while traveling, and that’s part of the fun! It is why I have multiple options in my schedule. In my itinerary spreadsheet, I write the meeting address, the name of the building (church, etc), the time, and any additional information (Room 303, second floor, side door, etc). I also bookmark the page on my Google Chrome in my trip folder, so that I can easily pull up the page if needed. For example, for my trip to Banff National Park, I have a “Canada Trip” bookmark folder with different web pages like restaurants, sights, and the local meeting schedules for the cities I am visiting.
Everything is easier with Google around, including finding 12 Step meetings. I will walk you through step-by-step how I find a 12 Step meeting while traveling.
Finding a Meeting Online
The first step is to type into Google “AA meetings (or NA or whatever meeting you are looking to attend) in (the city where you are traveling)”.
Usually, the local AA or NA website will be the first website on the list. Click on that.
I was staying in Canmore, Alberta which is 15 minutes away from Banff, Alberta. Both meetings worked and I wrote both of their locations and times into our schedule. I then pulled up in a new tab the Google Map of where I was staying on my trip so that I could find the closest location to my hotel.
On the Google Map, I looked at how close it was to my hotel. Only four minutes! Yay! Since my family only had one car, this was very convenient and the reason why I chose this meeting over the other.
When You Arrive at Your Destination
When we arrived, I told my family about the different times of the meetings that were close to the hotel. There were three meetings at the location: Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 8 pm. I didn’t have any particular day in mind.
There are also apps that can track down meetings according to your location like Meeting Guide and Pink Cloud if you need to get to a meeting in a pinch. I personally have not used Meeting Guide, but I have friends that use it often. I used Pink Cloud on one trip to Portland, Oregon and found a meeting with the app easily. However, you get one week for free and then it charges you per month, so I deleted it.
Going to the Meeting
It was convenient to go after dinner on Wednesday. I dropped my family at the hotel after dinner and continued on to the meeting in downtown Canmore.
The meeting was at a church, so I found a parking spot easily. I walked around the building to see if there was a sign or anyone standing outside. I found the sign on a side door! Hooray!
I was at the meeting about five minutes early and there was already a full room. At the beginning of the meeting, they asked if anyone was visiting, so I introduced myself and told everyone where I was from. There were lots of other visitors, too! Almost half of the meeting consisted of visitors since it is a tourist area.
Going to meetings in other cities and countries has become one of my favorite parts of being sober. It truly is an exciting cultural experience. I love seeing how the meeting is similar and different from the ones I frequent at home. At the meeting in Canmore, we read from a book that I had never even heard of before! When I attended a meeting in London, England, the meeting was set up differently than any meeting I had been to. There was a speaker for the first half-hour. After the speaker shared his story, people shared how their experiences related to the speaker. Then for the last 30 minutes, only people with less than two years of sobriety shared.
Need more tips for staying sober? Check out My Sobriety Toolbox: How I Stay Sober.
Are you going to your first meeting? (Link) Click here for How to Attend Your First 12 Step Meeting.
Traveling to Banff? Check out Booze-Free in Banff: 7 Days Exploring Alberta.