The summer brings a wave of fresh opportunities and pleasant emotions. The warm weather, the collective excitement and the train of relaxing or active social events makes this time of year something to look forward to.
While this season is full of potential, for someone in recovery it can also be laden with triggers to fall back into substance use. If you’re trying to steer clear of drugs and alcohol this summer and need some tips to get you through, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article we’ll share the top triggers to relapse during the summer, plus how to stay on track without compromising on fun.
Top triggers to relapse during the summer
Kicking back and soaking up the sun is a soothing enjoyment for many people. Those who have never used substances may feel content with a slow day at the beach, but someone who has used a drug with a sedative effect may be tempted to use again to reach a greater sense of calm.
It’s not unlikely to carve out summer trips months or years in advance, and these vacations can be pitfalls in early recovery. The novelty of a new place and new excursions can remind you of the high you felt when you first started using drugs. Additionally, while you know what bars and social scenes to avoid at home, vacation spots bring new and potentially dangerous territory.
Over the summer your calendar becomes full with bonfires, cookouts, pool parties and the like. While you know best whether you’ll be able to control yourself in these social settings, they can surely invite in opportunities for relapse if you’re not careful. If you plan on attending, bring an accountability partner.
Summer festivals are one of the most clear-cut chances to slip up in your sobriety. Drugs and alcohol can be widely available in these venues, and you may feel you need to use them to enjoy the event as much as everyone else. It’s likely a safer bet to find another way to have fun and safeguard your recovery.
Just as a desire for deeper relaxation can drive someone to return to substance use, so can a longing for euphoria. An exciting experience may trigger a craving to use substances to amplify the natural excitement summer brings about. Keep yourself alert to these feelings so you don’t stumble into relapse for the wrong reasons.
Top tips to stay sober during the summer
Remaining committed to your sober lifestyle will require some new skills. Here are ways you can modify your summer plans without compromising on fun.
Participate in activities that require sobriety
Only attending events that go hand-in-hand with substances (like parties, festivals, sports games) is a disaster waiting to happen. Don’t invite the possibility of relapse— participate in activities that require you to stay clean. Join a sober sports league, take up an instrument, try out rock climbing or learn how to waterski.
Find a sober friend group
Your sobriety is only as strong as the people who influence you, so find a friend group who supports your recovery and actively looks out for you. You’re only making it harder on yourself by clinging to peers who make poor choices.
Engage your body
Recovery is reinforced when you’re taking advantage of your new and improved physical functioning. When you get sober you’ll have more energy, stronger muscles and more mental motivation to exercise. Reap the rewards of physical activity and get outside this summer.
Soak up the sun
According to a study in Issues in Mental Health Nursing, even 10 minutes of exposure to sunlight a day can decrease depression and boost your mood. Embrace the warmer months and you’ll have fewer days where sadness leads you to seek out drugs or alcohol.
Avoid old habits
Summer can be a vulnerable time for old habits to creep up on you and lead you down a road that will harm your recovery. Prepare, plan ahead, develop a schedule for yourself or find new ways to circumvent triggers that will pop up. Stay ahead of the game and avoid your old routines that were connected to drugs and alcohol.
Get professional treatment
There’s no time like the present to get professional treatment for a substance use addiction. While you’re enjoying all the summer has to offer, you can work to make sure your underlying emotional and physical wellbeing is taken care of, too.
Rehab After Work can help you maintain your recovery over the summer. With flexible and convenient scheduling, you don’t have to compromise on your summer fun. Get treatment that works for you. Call now.