Summer is in full swing and for many of us it means time away from work, school and volunteer commitments. The warm summer days and upcoming holiday’s mean relaxing vacations, carefree outings to the beach with friends, boating trips to the lake and backyard barbeques. However, for those recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction, each of these summer traditions can be a relapse waiting to happen.
The following five tips will help you remain sober, no matter what your summer holiday plans include.
Social situations offer an abundance of alcohol and days away from normal commitments with opportunities to relapse. If you are recovering from an alcohol addiction, you probably do not want to meet friends for drinks or go to locations where drinking is one of the main attractions. This is especially important for those in the early stages of recovery, as the temptation may be more than you can handle.
Actively participate in your recovery program
This may be a time where you need to reach out to receive additional support from your network. Find groups such as AA in your vacation destination, and enlist the support of family, spouse and/or friends. If you see an outpatient provider on a regular basis, continue to keep those appointments
Plan an Exit Strategy
Whether you are on vacation or in at a neighborhood backyard barbeque, you should always have an exit strategy. Avoid people who are harassing you to drink or use drugs. Be prepared to leave or to tell them why you aren’t drinking. Don’t give in to the “one drink won’t hurt” mentality. Your sobriety is much more important than anyone’s definition of a “good time”.
Bring your Support Along
We are often away from our support network and our routines, enhancing making it harder to “work our program.” If you want to go to a barbeque or go on a trip but feel you might be tempted, bring someone you can trust along to keep you accountable. Knowing that there is someone with you can be a great encouragement when turning down drinks. You should also be honest with them if you need to leave and include them in your exit strategy.
Don’t commit to doing more than you should. Activities in the sun can be physically draining. If you are tired, your resolve may not be as strong. Make sure you have had plenty of rest before participating in any summer activities where you may be tempted to drink.
Only you truly know how much pressure you can take and what situations lead you to temptation. Avoiding these situations is key to staying sober this summer. Be honest with yourself. It is important for you to know how much you can handle so you don’t try to do more.
Just like any other time of the year, the most important tips for staying sober and avoiding relapse involve being honest with yourself, planning ahead and having a trusted support group. Keep in mind in most cities you can find a meeting every hour of the day during the major holidays.