Summer means time off from work or school, long weekends and warm weather. Summer also brings, however, a challenging time for those in recovery. Don’t let summer parties get in the way of your recovery success by following these tips.
What do you picture when you hear the word “summer?” Perhaps tropical beaches, hot sun, late nights, and weekends outdoors. With holidays from work and school, long weekends, and warm weather, summer is the time when people have more free time to pursue what they enjoy. Unfortunately, if you struggle with addiction, summer can also be the time when it becomes harder to abstain and stay clean.
Among the reasons why summer is a hard time for recovering addicts is the abundance of free time. With time on your hands and no place to be, it’s easy to slip into old patterns of behaviour. It’s also no help that, frequently, festive occasions are celebrated with alcohol or other substances. When we are with friends, we like to party!
On the other end of the spectrum, in the summer time, when your friends are away you might feel lonely and engage in alcohol or substances. Moreover, when traveling or in new situations, one can feel a sense of abandon and say “Just this once,” before engaging in an old addiction. Then, before you know it, an old habit has come back full force.
For these reasons, it is important for those wishing to stay sober to remain focused on abstinence. It is important to replace those harmful, addictive behaviours with healthier habits and activities. Here are some ways to remain sober in the summertime:
1. Remain clear about your goals. Staying sober is a matter of remaining aware of what you really want. When we have clear goals, and understand the behaviours we need to follow to reach those goals, it is an immense aid to sobriety.
2. Plan ahead. Nobody is impervious to triggers. Behavioural cues such as visiting a bar, walking down the beer aisle in a grocery store, or even interacting with certain people can increase the likelihood of engaging in an old addiction. Plan ahead and avoid possible triggers.
3. Schedule healthy situations. The positive aspect of planning ahead is finding healthy places and situations in which to spend time. Doing so will help encourage your new, healthy habit.
4. Be active in your recovery. If you have been through a treatment programme, you will have developed strategies and resources to support your recovery. You may have a behaviour plan, printed materials, a contact list for support, or other resources available to you. Actively use these to support your sobriety.
5. Bring support. If you do go to a situation which you expect might challenge your abstinence, bring a supportive friend who is aware of your goals. They can provide the necessary support to help you stay sober.
6. Take care of yourself. The worst times to make decisions are when you are stressed, hungry, and tired. When your energy levels are low and you are not thinking clearly, you are more likely to engage in an addictive behaviour. For this reason, it is important that you take care of yourself.
The Cabin Chiang Mai is a world-class treatment facility offering residential treatment for addiction. If you are concerned about addiction, contact one of our specialists today.