If you’ve ever got yourself into a state of drinking and taking drugs as a means of escaping your present reality then you’ll know it’s only a short term fix. Sure it’s great when you’re high but then you have the crashing come down to deal with. If that doesn’t make you unwilling to get out of bed the realization that just chasing the dragon is unlikely to reap rewards can make you literally despair.
This vicious circle of substance abuse as a means of self-medicating your way through a period of depression does not usually have an easy or happy outcome. Whilst it can be fun at times, over a sustained period not only do you damage your health (not that you particularly care at the time) but you also don’t tend to sort the underlying problem out.
When all is lost pick up your passport
Now whilst I’m not advocating that you ever just run away from your troubles, for they generally still tend to be there when you get back, I do believe that a bit of perspective can do wonders for your mental state. And where better to get that perspective than in some foreign land where you can broaden your horizons with new experiences, see other people’s lives and living conditions and, in short, give you the bit of zest that may have been missing for a while.
Where to go
Well it depends on how fragile your mind is. If you’re feeling particularly vulnerable maybe a short simple holiday in the sun is all you really need. This can include adventure holiday activities like mountain biking or sky diving as a means of getting a different high or simply just doing some physical activity like running on a beach. The fact is any break from your normal routine can help for a lot of dependency problems can come down to a need to break out of routine and common surroundings.
For some, however, that will not be enough and a proper plan for a three to six month break is in order. As there are so many reasons for depression it’s hard to prescribe any one particular place to visit. What I do believe though is that something that challenges your perspective on life can only help.
Reorder your reward system
If you have got yourself into a bit of a mess through a reliance on a chemical of one sort or another to get you through your days you need to replace your reward system with something fulfilling. This is where a properly structured volunteer environment can play wonders.
By working as part of a community with an end goal in site you can work towards something with a clear outcome. This gradual, step by step process of taking one day at a time is a great confidence booster and supplies the body with natural endorphins for a job well done. Whilst not the immediate rush of old this feeling of empowerment can win out against that inner voice if given enough of a chance. Not only that but a shared development project can often be back breaking work so should the pull of temptation come your way later in the day, with any luck, you’ll be too exhausted to respond.
Where not to go
OK so that is but one example of how to put structure back into your life whilst challenging your reward system. What’s best to avoid is any idea of going to a country that is known for the free flow of your given substance. So if you’re looking to get off cocaine the last place you really should be thinking of heading is South America. Likewise if you’re hoping to dry out then you might need to focus your travel plans on predominantly Muslim countries. In short go somewhere where there is not a ready and easy supply of your drug of choice to at least give yourself the chance of sorting your head out.
Whilst that may seem like obvious advice its amazing what you’ll convince yourself of when making your plans! Believe me when I say I’ve been through this with a number of friends who have tried to get clean. The fact is if they can do it you can do it. You just need the determination to start.
About The Author: Josh Aggars writes about surf and travel with his twin passions taking him to amazing places around the world as explored in his regular articles. He sells havaiana flip flops to help fund his travels. Over the years he’s faced down dependency problems with a number of his surf crew. Connect with him on Facebook for tips and advice at any time.