Summer Recovery Tips
Summer months bring beautiful weather, trips to the river or beach, and cookouts with amazing food and fellowship. For those of us in recovery or who work with those in recovery from substance use disorder another not so desirable trend begins to happen in the summer; relapse rates increase and the numbers of those seeking treatment begin to decline. The alcohol and drugs seem to flow a little heavier in the summer months due to the longer daylight hours and the frequency of events that usually entail drinking as a part and parcel of the fun. With that in mind, I think it is important to outline a few ways to help those in recovery avoid relapse and to encourage those in active addiction to seek treatment.
- When attending cookouts or events where there may be drinking, make sure to take a friend, or even a couple of friends, with solid recovery along. This will help to reinforce accountability and also give us people to talk to so we don’t feel out of place at these events. Social discomfort can lead to anxiety, which can draw us closer to alcohol or drugs as a social lubricant.
- Attend recovery events. There are a wide range of events that go on throughout the summer that are put on by different fellowships; churches, 12 step groups, community based organizations. You can find these by looking on 12 step websites (www.rvana.org, www.aarichmond.org) or by checking with your church or local churches.
- Volunteer!!!!! Being of service to others is its own reward. It can help to combat the feelings of worthlessness or purposelessness that often accompanies addiction. Doing this will also give us an opportunity to be a face a voice of recovery and maybe help to guide someone into recovery who is considering seeking help.
These are just a few things that you can do in order to help yourself and others in these dangerous months. Being proactive in one’s recovery is the beginning of learning new, productive habits that replace old destructive ones. After practicing these behaviors for some time, they will become second nature and contribute positively to one’s safety and wellness. I hope you all continue to enjoy your summer and for those who are in active addiction, not enjoying this summer, please, seek help. REAL LIFE Community Center is one of many local resources that can help this be your last summer of madness.
PEACE and LOVE, Ryan (REAL LIFE Case Manager in long term recovery)