Staying Sober During Summer Vacation
Warm summer days are often associated with special, relaxing times. Many people get vacation time and a chance to take a break from work or school. There are usually a lot of outdoor activities and fun things to do such as outdoor barbecues and playing in the pool. You might enjoy trips to the beach or a lake. There may be trips away from home, or loved ones may travel to visit you.
As a recovering addict or alcoholic, some of the enjoyable activities of summer may remind you of times when you used mind-altering substances to enhance pleasant vacation experiences. Summer fun and get-togethers can cause you to let your guard down and may trigger the urge to pick up a drink or a drug.
Get to More Meetings
Even though you want to relax and enjoy your summer vacation days, this is not the time to stop going to meetings. You may have more activities to participate in, but you still have to make recovery a priority. If you are participating in outpatient treatment, continue to keep any appointments you may have.
If you are away from home, see if you can get to meetings in the area you are visiting. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are usually listed online and in the phone book, and the person who answers the phone will probably be able to direct you to where to find a local meeting. If you can’t get to meetings during this time, make time to read recovery literature or listen to AA speakers online.
Keep in Touch With Your Support Network
When you are attending summer get-togethers and enjoying summer activities, it’s important to stay in touch with people you trust in your support network. While you are enjoying summer events, take the time to text or call your sponsor or other members of your support group. Someone who is sober should be only a phone call or text away when you are in a situation that could be risky for your sobriety.
If you are attending summer events where other people will be drinking, try to bring along a sober friend. If this isn’t feasible, make sure you touch base with people in your support network and be prepared to leave the event if you are feeling uncomfortable.
Think Through Possible Scenarios
Addiction is a deadly disease, and the urge to go back to your old ways may come over you quickly and with no warning. It’s important to be prepared for some of the scenarios you may face. For example, at a family barbecue, some of your relatives may be drinking and may encourage you to drink. Think through what you will say if this happens and how you will protect yourself.
It’s especially important to plan your reactions and responses if you are at a work-related picnic or other event in which people aren’t aware that you are in recovery. It isn’t necessary to disclose that you are a recovering alcoholic or addict, but you need to know what you are going to say if people try to encourage you to have just one drink to loosen up, or something similar. A simple answer such as “I’d rather not drink today” may be good enough in most cases. If people continue to push you, plan ahead for what you will say or do rather than give in to temptation.
Keep Recovery Up Front
Different people are threatened or uncomfortable in different situations. It’s important for you to know what people, places or things may threaten your sobriety. It’s also important to realize that triggers may hit you when you least expect them. This is why you need to be in the habit of using tools, such as reaching out to people in your support network.
It’s imperative to keep recovery up front, no matter where you are or what you are doing. Know what to do if you become uncomfortable, including leaving a get-together if you think you may pick up. Summer is a time for relaxing and having fun, and you don’t have to drink or drug to enjoy these special days.