Vacations, parties, and outdoor recreation: Summer is the season of fun! However, the celebrations and gatherings can make maintaining a sober lifestyle more complex. These five tips can help you think proactively about successfully navigating stressful situations to avoid temptation and relapse.
Manage the Risk
Summer fun isn’t always without risks. Unfamiliar environments and people and unexpected temptations are all things a person in recovery should be prepared to manage.
The new environment of a summer getaway can bring challenges for people in sobriety. The excitement that comes with visiting somewhere new and meeting new friends, while fun, can quickly become overwhelming if you aren’t mentally prepared.
The season also has unexpected temptations and “slips” of all kinds, not just with alcohol or substances. People often find themselves indulging with meals and treats or overspending on vacation activities and souvenirs. Don’t let a lapse of discipline in one area become a slippery slope, especially if others drink during activities or alcohol is served at your destination.
Strategize for Stress
Prepare in advance for how you will handle stressful or tempting situations. The following question framework can help you find the right mindset before your event or activity:
- Can I bring someone to help me?
- Who are the types of people that I will be surrounded by?
- What are possible triggers?
- How will I handle cravings?
- Am I ready to handle this type of environment?
- Are there local meetings in the area?
- Do I need to attend meetings while on vacation?
- Am I avoiding something or someone?
- How long will I be on vacation?
- When will I be coming home?
Practice Saying No
…and not just to drugs and alcohol. Some activities and people will pressure you into uncomfortable situations. Your sobriety is essential, and friends and family should understand its importance, too! Be prepared to say no, even if it may seem awkward or hurtful. Some “No” phrases to practice include:
- I won’t be able to make it
- It’s not a good idea for me
- I already have other plans
- I appreciate you thinking of me, but…
Rely on Your Team
Summer can be tricky, especially for someone early in sobriety. During these times, you should lean on your support team. Sponsors, coaches, and peers in recovery all understand what you are going through, so do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. Talk about your struggles and cravings with a counselor or sponsor and seek out meetings that will reinforce the message of recovery.
Find the Fun!
The longer summer days give us more variety in our daily activities, and vacations offer a break from work and responsibilities. This is a great time to reset and minimize the worries and stress mentally. Focus on the present and be proud of your current place on your path to recovery. There is a reason you are sober, and that is because you put in the work to get there, celebrate!
Within that same mindset, don’t let ego or excitement get you off track. It is easy to lose focus in a new place, with new friends, or during new activities. Enjoy yourself, but always be on alert for triggers that may influence you to jeopardize your recovery.
You don’t have to struggle with addiction. We’re here to help you or your loved one enjoy life in sobriety. Our Recovery Advisors are always available to talk. Call 888-SOBER-40 (888-762-3740) or Live Chat anytime.