Summertime means picnics, barbeques, concerts and plenty of time spent with friends. While most people look forward to this relaxed season, it can be a stressful time for those in alcohol recovery. These events usually have an abundance of alcohol present, making sobriety more difficult for someone who has finished a treatment program.
We often let our guard down in the summer months and our inhibitions are weakened. Unfortunately, addiction is always waiting to sneak back into your life and summer is an easy time for relapse to occur.
Why is Summer Challenging?
– The days are longer – These extra hours allow for more free time and can lead to alcohol cravings.
– People get invited to more parties – Alcohol is common at almost all of these gatherings
– Travelling can trigger relapse – If you are away from your support system and daily routines, relapse is more common.
Tips for a Sober Summer
- Bring a friend who knows your sobriety goals
- Avoid triggers including certain people or places
- Have an exit strategy if you need to get out of a situation quickly
- Have a beverage (like water or soda) in your hand so people won’t try to offer you an alcoholic drink
- Attend more meetings in the summer
- Have a short and simple answer prepared in case people ask you about your treatment and recovery
- Don’t focus on what you can’t have
- Change your vacation plans if your regular spot brings back memories of your former days
- Check out tour companies that offer alcohol-free vacations
- Volunteer at your favorite charities to keep yourself busy
- Relax and let go of any expectations of summer
Use Activities as a Distraction
Some sober activities might help keep your mind off of partying and drinking during the summer season.
- Tour through your own city – This is a great way discover new spots.
- Check out local fairs and festivals – Listen to live music or enjoy some rides at the fair.
- Get active – Join a beach volleyball league or play football at the park. Enjoy a group exercise class outdoors and meet new people.
- Head outside – Go for a hike or plan a camping trip in nature.
- Plant a garden – Planting a garden can have many therapeutic effects.
How to Handle a Relapse
Relapse is always possible after completing a treatment program. It doesn’t mean that you should give up – it’s just a small setback on your road to recovery. Simply follow these three steps to start getting back on track:
– Call your sponsor
– Take it seriously
– Get back to your sobriety with a meeting and immerse yourself back in a program of recovery
Reach Out for Help
If you feel like something is a threat to your recovery – during summer or beyond – reach out for help right away. This could be in the form of your sponsor or even a relapse treatment program. Find out more about an individualized relapse prevention program and contact us today for the help you need.