For many people, maintaining sobriety is one of the cornerstones of their healthy lifestyle. While it may surprise you, around 15% of Americans are struggling with drug addiction, and if you add in tobacco and alcohol, that number jumps to 1/3 of Americans. Summer is right around the corner, a time that is supposed to be carefree, full of vacations and fun in the sun. The summer season can also be challenging for people looking to avoid relapse and stay sober. If you’re on your sobriety journey and are looking for ways to keep your success up, keep reading for some ways to avoid relapsing this summer but still enjoy all the season has to offer.
Start a Garden
A huge key to successful sobriety is mindfulness and meditation; nothing is more grounding than putting your hands on the ground. Not only are there mindfulness benefits to gardening, but it also provides you with a new hobby, another factor in avoiding relapse. Studies have shown that people in recovery with various hobbies have a great success rate of remaining sober. Lastly, gardening during the summer produces a bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables that help nourish your body and keep you healthy. If you don’t have a yard, even container gardening on a balcony or patio can do the trick, or you could invest in an indoor gardening system for your home to enjoy garden benefits year-round.
While support groups and socialization are key to successful sober living, who you associate with makes all the difference. You want to enjoy your summer and RSVP “yes” to as many invites as possible, but you need to guard your sobriety more than your need to hang out. Choose to socialize with people that will respect your recovery process and host dry events and never put yourself in a situation you’re not ready to be in. Socialization is essential for humans, our mental health requires it, but this summer, attend social events only if there is no chance it will affect your sobriety. If that seems difficult, support groups are another opportunity to socialize with people who understand your struggle.
Have a Plan in Place
Many people have multiple factors that affect their sobriety, from work to family. Having a plan in place in case of a relapse can give you the peace of mind and endurance to avoid relapse in the first place. Knowing who you would call (your sponsor) and where you would go – would it be rehab for families, a meeting, or to your best friend? Knowing you’ve got everything lined up to get back on track in case you take a step back is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Chances are you won’t need it, but luck favors the prepared.
Play the Long Game in Your Mind
If you find yourself in tempting situations this summer, think things through before acting. Say you’re at a pool or beach party, and someone who doesn’t know you well offers you a drink – play through in your mind how hard you would have to work all over again by taking that one drink. Remember all the hard work, sweat, and tears you’ve put in to get to where you are today. Thinking of the consequences of “one drink” or “one toke” can pull you back into reality and strengthen your resolve for sobriety.
Take a Vacation
If you have the budget to take a vacation this summer – do it! Traveling has proven health benefits, not only for your physical health but your mental well-being. Studies show that regular vacationers experienced better metabolic health and longer lives than their non-vacationing counterparts. Booking a vacation is also a great way to reward yourself and celebrate your sobriety.
Avoiding relapse requires small tweaks, too, like getting enough sleep (hard with those long summer nights, but prioritize it), eating healthy, and practicing regular mindfulness. You can avoid relapse this summer by implementing the above tips and keeping up with other healthy habits that have helped you along the way. Remember that you deserve this, and you’re capable of doing hard things. Enjoy your summer sober; you’ve got this!