Summer is here and many people will be spending time with family and friends while grilling mountains of hamburgers and hotdogs, making homemade ice cream, lounging by the pool or going camping. Many festivities during the summertime will include alcohol and marijuana. For people in recovery, summer celebrations can be laden with temptations, and one might wonder if it is even possible to celebrate, have a great time and stay sober. Great news; the answer to that is yes!
Start the Day Off Strong
Preparation and planning can keep any summer celebration from leading to relapse. An excellent way to start the day off strong is by going to an AA or other support group meeting before attending any events or parties. Starting the day off surrounded by encouraging and supportive people can remind you of the importance of sobriety and solidify your commitment to your recovery.
A one-on-one meeting or even just a call with your sponsor before the celebrations begin is another way to start the day off in a way that will encourage sobriety. Your sponsor can help you plan how to handle the situation if you experience cravings or urges to use.
It may take some effort, but it is possible to enjoy summer activities and maintain sobriety with support and a solid plan. There are several tools and ways to manage triggers during this time:
- Honesty is the best policy. Be honest with yourself about who and what triggers you. Avoid those people, places and situations if possible.
- Find a sober celebration and have fun without the temptation to use. This is great for anyone, but it can be especially helpful for people in early recovery.
- Have a plan before arriving at the celebration. If there will be alcohol or other substances, you can ask the host for a task to keep you busy while you socialize. This will take some of your focus away from substances. Leave before heavy drinking or other use starts and possibly leads others to employ peer pressure for you to have “just one.”
- Always remember your why. Keep in mind why you began this recovery journey. Save some motivational quotes and positive affirmations on your phone to inspire you and keep you mindful.
- Prepare by getting your mindset in alignment with your goal of staying sober. It’s helpful to focus on all that you gain by staying sober, rather than having a missing out mindset.
- Keep a non-alcoholic drink in hand. If someone asks if you would like a drink, instead of saying no, you can instead say, “Yes, I will have a soda” (or tea, coffee, water, etc.). This changes the answer from a negative to a positive one.
- Bring a sober, supportive friend. You do not have to go it alone. Ask a friend to attend the event with you. They can help you in difficult situations and help you stay focused on your sobriety.
- If you think that you are going to use, leave the event immediately. There is nothing wrong with leaving early if it means taking care of yourself.
Find Aftercare and Alumni Support
The staff at Casa Palmera understand that an individualized aftercare plan is of utmost importance in maintaining sobriety. When the aftercare plan is tailored to and designed around your individual needs, it will become an invaluable tool on the road to recovery. Casa Palmera offers a host of aftercare options that exceed industry standards. A critical aspect of our post-treatment plan is the alumni program.
Casa Palmera offers a weekly alumni meeting. In addition, the alumni program offers outings such as days at the beach and barbecues. There are also many service opportunities for alumni. There is even an app for Casa Palmera alumni, making it easy to stay connected to our recovery community.
Recovery is a life-long process, and your connection to Casa Palmera will be life-long as well. In addition to weekly alumni meetings, we also offer meetings including AA, continuing care and aftercare meetings.
If You’re Struggling, Reach Out to Your Therapist
Being aware of when you are struggling and being honest with yourself is of utmost importance in recovery. When is it time to reach out to your therapist or psychiatrist? An ideal time to check in with your therapist is right before a major event, where alcohol and other substances are frequently consumed. Trying to schedule your weekly or monthly appointment as close to the holiday as possible allows you the benefit of extra support before going into a triggering holiday. This is the perfect opportunity to role-play and practice how you will manage the situation if alcohol or other substances are available at a celebration. Your therapist can even offer some additional tools to help with staying sober.
Freedom from Using Drugs or Alcohol
Staying sober at summer events or activities can be a challenge, but the rewards are vast and worth rising to the challenge. This summer, reflect on all you have overcome and celebrate your freedom from using drugs or alcohol.
It is common for people living with substance use disorders, especially those in early recovery, to face triggers and experience cravings and urges to use on holidays. Although relapse is sometimes a part of the recovery process, it is not inevitable that relapse can occur during summer events. With support from our alumni program, relapse prevention groups and other aftercare support, sobriety is possible. If relapse does occur, it is not met with punitive measures at Casa Palmera. We understand that substance use disorders are complex and multi-dimensional, and we help our patients and alumni look into and address the factors that led to the relapse. Our goal is to ensure that you embark on a fulfilling recovery journey and realize your potential to be the person you have always wanted to be. If you or a loved one need treatment, call Casa Palmera today at (855) 508-0473.