For many, summer is a time to let loose a bit. Whether it be a vacation with your family, weekend getaways, barbeques with friends or just taking advantage of the warm weather by indulging in some outdoor activities, everyone deserves to relax and enjoy some carefree fun. Unfortunately, if you struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, this break from routine could be a relapse waiting to happen.
You deserve to embrace your summer plans fully, but be on guard against some of the traditions that may cause unwanted temptations. Many outdoor activities, from baseball games to Independence Day parties, will probably involve alcohol of some sort. Or maybe you'll be invited to a pool party attended by your old crew, still enjoying their drug-addicted lifestyles. That's why many people who are in recovery find it difficult to stay sober during the summer holidays.
If you need help staying sober this summer, here are some tips that could help you out:
As you recover from drugs or alcohol, you need to always be aware of the dangers of relapse. You may want to take a break from your vigilance and chill this summer, but you can't be chill when it comes to your sobriety. No matter what your summer plans may entail, it's crucial to keep recovery at the top of your priorities list. However, having fun with friends and family can and should be a close second.
We always remember our recovery meetings during our low moments. But just because you're enjoying some summer relaxation doesn't mean you don't need the support these groups offer. Keep up your attendance, and even if travel takes you away, find a local support group where you're visiting, or stay connected through daily phone calls.
Family and friends are essential tools in recovery, too. Their support will help ensure you remain sober this summer. If you are planning to attend a party or an outing where you know you may feel tempted, ask a trusted friend or family member to help keep you accountable. Having that encouragement will allow you to enjoy the outing even more.
A summer filled to the brim with engaging activities sounds fun, but it can also cause tons of stress. The constant busyness may leave you feeling drained, both physically and emotionally, and before you know it, you may be tempted to reach for your old coping devices.
If you feel this happening, take a step back and get plenty of rest. You might also start your day with something you know will de-stress you, like a cup of coffee on the balcony or yoga.
You know yourself well enough to know your weaknesses. If there is a party or outing you know will bring undue temptations, it's okay to say no. Even if you do end up going somewhere where you feel the pressure to indulge, keep an exit strategy in mind. You may need to bow out a little early, and that's completely acceptable.
Summer gatherings may put you in contact with people who bring up your recovery process, especially if you've just returned from a treatment center. If you don't want to talk about it, that's your choice. However, you may want to come prepared with a short answer that redirects the conversation, such as "Recovery is an important part of my life, and I'm doing much better. How are you?"
Unfortunately, there's no magic solution to ensure sobriety this summer, but with a healthy support system and a realistic outlook, you are well prepared. Don't be afraid to reach out to others when you need additional support. Sobriety may not seem like a fun way to spend your summer, but in the end, you'll be glad you stayed with your recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Diamond House Detox has got you covered. Feel free to reach out and speak to one of our treatment advisors today. The conversation is completely confidential.
Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on July 2nd, 2018.