Coming to you live from the deck of one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s exquisite ships, I am in awe that I am in this life sober. The blue-green waters of the Caribbean are vibrant against the flawless colors of the setting sun and I am present-and-accounted-for. With the ocean breeze on my face and the warmth of the fellowship in my heart I feel renewed and alive.
Traveling sober is a huge milestone for many people in recovery. Some people have years of sobriety in their wake before they feel grounded enough to take flight. There’s nothing wrong with that. For others, traveling and adventure bring pep to their step and wind to their sails—if the cost of sobriety was to remain forever in a safe harbor they might not be willing to ante up. Sober Conferences at Sea are a viable solution for almost anyone in recovery and their friends and families.
During a Sober Conference at Sea, there are world-class speakers sharing their experience strength and hope, workshops providing tools for active recovery, literature meetings, sobriety countdowns, intimate meetings, ballroom meetings, world-class entertainment and fellowship-fellowship-fellowship. The week-long “meeting after the meeting” is always spectacular in an understated way. With the welcome of candor, insight, and Johnny-Go-Lightly, the meetings after the meetings take on lives of their own and there can be no mistake—we are not a glum lot!
On this trip we’ve been to Cozumel-Mexico, Belize City-Belize, and Roatan-Honduras—greeted by excursion guides, storekeepers, unique landscapes and local artisans. We’ve enjoyed snorkeling, scuba-diving, swimming with nurse-sharks, and dolphins. We’ve been cave tubing and zip-lining, hiking and shopping. We do it all, and we do it sober.
Back on the ship, we’ve been entertained by world-class recovery comedian Mark L. and laughed whole-heartily—with him, and at ourselves. We also brought along two recovery recording artists as part of our Sober Conference entertainment. Whether roaring with laughter or swaying with the music we always knew we were in the company of like-minded people having fun!
A large percentage of Americans have never been on a cruise, yet many people have a mental image that includes free-flowing alcohol, decadent dining, live entertainment, elegant décor, dancing, more alcohol, more dining, and poolside lounging. All of that is true and so much more. On a sober cruise, we don’t miss any of it. We replace the alcohol with another favorite beverage and beef-up our sober resolve with daily twelve-step meetings of AA, NA, Al Anon and others (if needed). We’re all in the same boat. We support each other and practice having fun.
I’m nearing the end of this particular Conference at Sea. In preparation for this article, I find myself reflecting on all the joyful faces, the excited stories of adventurous excursions, the moments of awakening to a deeper level of self-understanding, and many relaxed, carefree intimate conversations filled with laughter, intensity and sometimes tears. The deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude that fulfills me after each conference overshadows the sadness at having it end. But, right here, right now, I am basking in the sounds of a steel drum band on the deck of a ten-story cruise liner, sipping coconut water feeling grateful—sober!