My First Airplane Ride Sober

Good for you for having the courage to take your first airplane ride in sobriety. Starting with your first day without a drink, there are a myriad of other firsts to encounter when you get sober. First week, first funeral, holiday party, Thanksgiving, first dinner with your parents—and the list goes on. You should be proud of yourself as you get through each event.

Airport are full of strangers, people hustling, bustling and anxious to get through security and on to their gate in time for boarding. Whether you are new to sobriety or have years behind you, the idea of having a drink might enter your mind. After all, who would know? Airports offer travelers many opportunities to stop in for a quick drink before their flight. After your flight takes off, the flight attendant comes down the aisle to take orders for sodas and alcoholic drinks. You decline because you’ve made a commitment to yourself.

Sitting next to a person who orders a drink can be hard. You love the smell, You even watch to see how fast he or she drains the plastic glass. Alcohol once consumed your every thought, jeopardized your health or caused real harm to your organs and brain. Before your flight, it is a good idea to make a plan to handle alcohol’s insidious call.

You can tell yourself there could be other sober people on the plane struggling just like you. In doing so, you can form an invisible alliance with them—we will get through this together! Bring a talisman with you or a sobriety chip from a meeting. Hold it in your hand. Say the serenity prayer in your mind. Play a game on your cell phone, or watch the movie the airline offers on long flights. There are many ways to distract yourself.

Your plan to make it through your first flight sober can be to create distractions. Straight-forward self-talk may also help. Go over your drinking story in your mind. Remind yourself of what your worst drinking days were like—the hangovers, the shakes, the vomit, the way you disregarded your family’s pleas to get sober. Now, look out the small airplane window. All that blue sky, all those lofty clouds. The Captain comes on the loud speaker and says you’ll be landing in 15 minutes! You’re going to make it! Of course you are!


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