This article was written by Jillian DeMaio and published by RCA
It’s officially that time of year: the weather is warm, finals have been turned in, and students everywhere are getting ready to take some time off. Summer break is a time to be free, have fun and recharge before the start of a new semester. But the months can also mean drinking, partying and some difficult decision-making. For those in recovery, these months can be a particularly tough time to stay sober. Whether you’re heading on a beach vacation, exploring a new city or staying at home to catch up on sleep, here are tips to avoid relapse over summer break.
Keep your support system close
Those in recovery know better than anyone the power of a dedicated support system, so be sure to keep yours close while traveling. Hang with friends or family that will support you and your sobriety, or maybe travel with others in your recovery community. Sometimes “FOMO” – fear of missing out – is the very reason those in recovery end up relapsing. Having someone to share in your recovery can keep the FOMO away and can help guide you back on the right track when temptation hits. Remember how amazing your sober life is – you don’t want to have a setback!
Research sober spots
If you’re hoping to stay sober over your summer break, it’s probably not best to travel to destinations with heavy party/drinking culture (which, unfortunately, is where a lot of college students turn). Wherever you are or end up, be sure to look into sober activities you can participate in, such as these options:
- Relax at a spa
- Head to a wellness retreat
- Find volunteer opportunities
- Stay outdoors—hiking, fishing, exploring, etc.
- Skill-building classes—cooking, dancing, painting, etc.
- Practice your faith and spirituality—renew your body, mind and spirit with meditation and prayer
If you find yourself in a place where you’re feeling tempted, remember to stay in today and think about the progress you’ve made. If it gets to be too much, be sure to utilize the AA Meeting Guide to find meetings in your area.
Stay Busy & Active
While summer break is a time to turn off your brain and relax, with too much down time comes empty days and nights where a relapse can be likely. Try not to get bored without your normal routine. Organize activities in advance, so you can enter the week knowing you have things to keep your mind occupied while avoiding the anxieties of relapse. Having a plan will keep your intention to stay sober strong and present!
While summer break is a vacation no matter where you are, it is not a vacation from your daily sobriety routine. Be sure to remember what sobriety means to you and use the resources in your recovery toolbox when things get difficult. Continue to practice saying no, stay grounded and keep the focus on your recovery. You’ve got this!
Recovery Centers of America hosts a full continuum of care to help you patients build the confidence needed to transition back into everyday life. From inpatient treatment, outpatient programs and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), as well as events, meetings, and service opportunities sponsored by the Alumni Association, our goal is to empower you to take on the next phase of your life with of plenty of support and resources.