People undergoing alcohol recovery in Denver know that the summer months are filled with many opportunities to drink and use drugs. There are countless parties, barbecues, festivals, parades and holiday celebrations that promote and even encourage alcohol use. For people in early addiction recovery, these festivities can add a lot of pressure.
Even if you stay away from these parties, knowing that the people around you are out having fun and “partying” can be a trigger. So how can you stay clean and sober during the summer, especially if you have a vacation planned?
Sobriety Should Be Your #1 Goal – Every Day
It doesn’t matter what your peers are doing this summer. Your daily goal is to focus on your sobriety. When you attend your 12 step meetings, you’ll be reminded that you are not alone. Many other people are working their recoveries just like you. So, don’t fixate on what you could be doing with your friends. Focus on your goal – staying sober.
Of course, we don’t want you to think that your life has to be consumed with all things recovery related. There is time to spend on summer fun like catching sun by the pool and spending time with close family and friends. By maintaining a healthy routine, you can gracefully handle the changes that come with sober living. If you feel overwhelmed by what to do with your days, take things slowly: day-by-day, hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute.
Also, make sure that your foundation includes good self-care. Because summer does involve a lot of temptation, it’s important to keep your mental, emotional and physical health in check. Eat healthy meals, exercise daily, spend time with loved ones, take your prescribed medications and get enough rest at night. This will make you more resilient.
How Can I Stay Sober During Summer Vacation?
No matter where you are in your recovery, you’ve come a long way. It’s important to have some summertime fun, but you should do it in a way that won’t jeopardize your sobriety. Here are some tips to help you stay sober while on summer vacation.
Learn how to say no
If you plan on taking a getaway or attending a social event, it’s possible that someone will offer you an alcoholic drink. Prepare yourself for these situations by practicing ways to say no. There are many ways to turn down a drink without having to talk about your addiction. Sometimes having a non-alcoholic beverage in your hands is a good way to stop the pressure.
Recognize HALT and triggers
HALT is an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. If you let yourself get to this point, you may find yourself feeling stressed, depressed or anxious, which can lead to problems and put you at risk for relapse. It’s hard to make good decisions and maintain a positive attitude when you’re one of these things. So, be sure to take care of your basic needs so that you can protect yourself from triggers and cravings.
Enjoy Mother Nature
Get out in nature as much as possible. Research shows that fresh air and sunshine are wonderful ways to treat mood disorders, plus reduce the risk for high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. And because it’s summer, you have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.
Attend your meetings
Continue going to your 12-step meetings over the summer. If you’ll be on vacation for part of the summer, you can look up meetings that are held in that area or attend an online meeting instead. It can be fun to meet people from other cities and states. These groups are welcoming and helpful reminders that addiction does not discriminate.
Use the buddy system
When going out, it’s best to bring a friend or loved one with you from your support circle, especially if you’re worried about temptation. Until you get more comfortable in social situations, it’s helpful to have someone who understands your situation and can take you home if you feel uncomfortable. Having a buddy also makes you more accountable.
As you’re learning in recovery, you don’t have to tackle everything at once. Take things slowly and enjoy what’s in front of you. It’s easy to get carried away if you’re at a resort and the alcohol is flowing. So pace yourself and make smart decisions that will help you maintain sobriety. Also, remember your essential needs – HALT. Don’t let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired.
Do I Have to Tell People about My Addiction?
You do not have to tell anyone about your sobriety if you don’t want to. Some people may be aware that you were in outpatient addiction rehab in Denver and ask questions, so you can answer with something like, “Recovery has been a great experience and an important part of my life. I’m happy I made the decision. What have you been up to?” This is a simple, friendly way to steer the conversation in the right direction.
For people who don’t know about your addiction, you don’t have to provide any details if you don’t want to. This should come on your terms. Nevertheless, people are naturally curious, so it’s helpful to practice responses and ways of saying no.
Strengthen Your Summer Recovery with Outpatient Rehab in Denver, CO
If you feel that you could use more support this summer, consider outpatient substance abuse treatment in Denver. This type of care is flexible and allows you to maintain much of your normal routine while getting weekly individual and group counseling. You’ll also have access to a wide range of natural therapies and support staff to help you on your journey. We find that many of our clients need this extra support and compassion as they transition into their daily lives.
To learn more about our Denver treatment center and the role they can play in your summer recovery, contact Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado.