Summertime is many people’s favorite season. School is out, the weather is nice, and vacations are plentiful. It’s a time to enjoy company with family and friends, take trips to the beach, and be outside. For many people, summer is also a time where responsibilities lessen, freedom increases, and drinking and drugging occurs frequently. However, for individuals in active addiction or early recovery, summer can present a time of caution or danger.
Therefore, how can someone that is seeking to overcome addiction or living in early recovery enjoy the summertime while guarding against the potential for relapse or the increase in risky behavior that often can be prevalent during this time of year? Sobriety is not meant to be boring nor work, but rather a way of life that is fun, exciting, and offer unlimited possibilities of freedom so that alcohol and drugs don’t seem like a good option.
Here are some tips for people in early recovery to have a fun, sober summer:
- First and foremost, embrace recovery. Many people enter recovery kicking and screaming; they do not want to be sober and are only doing it to make consequences stop. This mindset will never lead to a successful recovery. Instead, have a positive outlook and embrace sobriety. Take action to better your life and increase engagement in recovery, recovery fellowships and communities, and health and wellness routines. This will set the foundation for everything else, especially summer activities with friends and family.
- Get social. This is true to have a fun, sober summer but in regard to everything in recovery. Recovery is about connection. We recover in pairs, in groups, and in communities. Addiction thrives in isolation, so individuals in early recovery can be extremely uncomfortable in social settings or situations. There is often fear and anxiety, discomfort, and trepidation. However, getting connected and leaning into social situations is key. It can also be difficult for people in early recovery to navigate social situations without the use of drugs and alcohol. Everyone in early recovery has dealt with this issue. Do it anyway. Find a group of positive people that can be sober supports and jump in with both feet. Agree to things you would previously avoid. Go along on outings or take part in activities that you think you may not enjoy. Often what you will find is that you either learn that you do enjoy them, or at the least, you enjoy spending time with the people you’re with, and therefore will want to spend more time with them. Very quickly you’ll find you can have a ton of fun without drugs and alcohol, learn that there is a ton of things you like that you didn’t think you did, and your summer will be full of memorable moments you’ll cherish forever.
- Avoid things that can be dangerous or detrimental. This can go for certain situations, such as going to a bar or social event with a lot of drinking or drugs, or for people, such as toxic friends or family. Identify the people that are positive in your life that want the best for you, and deliberately spend time with them. Also, identify the people that may not be good for you, such as friends or family not supportive of your recovery, and make sure to avoid spending time with them if possible. Not all people will be happy or supportive of your recovery, for whatever reason. Therefore, identifying a good support network, sober friends within the recovery community, and those that are a positive influence in your life is key.
- Be deliberate, mindful, and regimented. One of the most detrimental things to someone in early recovery is too much free time, or freedom without structure. Make sure to plan things out- when you’ll be making regular meetings, meeting with supports like a sponsor or friends in recovery, how you’ll spend your day, and if you need to go somewhere or see someone that may not be the most positive influence for you, that you have necessary support. Most people in early recovery begin to engage in health, wellness, and fitness activities, like going to the gym, running, biking, working out, yoga, or other exercises. This is a very good idea, and if you begin to incorporate health and fitness into your daily life, make sure it is through a routine. Examples could be waking up early and working out at the same time in the morning or do so on the same days at the same time after work. Additionally, going to the same meetings regularly, each day and week helps you hold yourself accountable and helps to hold you accountable to others in your sober support network. Being regimented and having a schedule helps the life of someone in early recovery become regulated, normalizes the activities, guards against free time, and makes things that can be difficult in the beginning become habitual.
Summer is meant to be fun. And so is recovery. So, taking these suggestions and implementing these tips will help someone in early recovery learn that recovery is not only possible, but enjoyable. Therefore, when recovery becomes enjoyable and fun, all other aspects of life take on new meaning, and offer the opportunity to be enjoyable and memorable, including everyone’s favorite season of summer. A sober summer can be a time to make some of the greatest memories ever.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.