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How to Stay Sober During the Summer Months

If you are newly sober, you may worry about how you are going to manage during the summer months. This may be a time of year where you have traditionally used alcohol heavily. You might also be worried about how you are going to cope on your summer holidays. The good news is that so long as you take the necessary steps to protect your sobriety, you may be about to enjoy the best summer ever.

Why Do People Relapse During The Summer?

There are a number of reasons for why newly sober people may be at high risk of relapse during the summer months.

This is a time when most people will be thinking about their summer holidays. Those individuals who are recovering from alcoholism may associate going on holiday with drinking heavily. They might not be able to imagine how they will be able to enjoy this time without alcohol.

Many drinkers view the summer as their favourite time of year to engage in this pursuit. Such people may enjoy sitting in beer gardens or having drinks at barbeque events. The individual may also associate summer with enjoying a few drinks on the beach.

The hot weather can make people feel thirsty, and this may trigger cravings for alcohol. For example, the individual may believe that a drink like cider is going to be ideal for quenching their thirst when the weather is hot.

There tends to be a great deal more drinking going on outside during the summer months. This may mean that the individual is facing a great deal more temptation. It can be difficult to not romance the drink when there can be so many people standing outside pubs and looking as if they are having a great time.

The sunny weather can trigger all types of positive emotions, but the risk with this is that the individual may be feeling so positive that they forget that they have an alcohol problem. The person may mistake these positive emotions as a sign that they are now safe to drink again.

How to Prevent Relapse During the Summer Months

Here are a few suggestions for how you can prevent relapse during the summer months.

  • If you are worried about how you are going to cope during the summer months, it is vital that you share these concerns with other people.
  • If you belong to a recovery group, it might be a good idea to increase the number of meetings you attend until you feel a bit more settled.
  • If you are having thoughts of relapse, get help right away. It is vital that you do not just ignore these thoughts.
  • If you slip into romancing the drink (remembering the good drinking days), you need to counter this by remembering the pain caused by addiction.
  • It is important to drink plenty of water on those days when it is hot outside – carry a bottle with you everywhere. The risk is that if you become thirsty it may trigger intense cravings for alcohol.
  • If you do not feel very secure in your sobriety, it is best to avoid bars and beer gardens completely – only go to these places if you have a valid reason for doing so.
  • If you will be going to a summer barbeque make sure that there is going to be soft drinks available – it might be best to avoid this venue if there is going to be an excessive amount of drinking.
  • The summer months are a great time for outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling, and it might be a good idea to try some of these options.
  • It can be good for people to begin a gratitude list, so that they keep in mind all the reasons they are staying sober.

How to Stay Sober on Holidays

The summer is the time when most of us will decide to take our holidays, and this may involve travelling abroad to some type of exotic location. This is usually a well-deserved break, but many of us who have had drinking problems will have traditionally used this as a time to party hard. It may be extremely difficult for us to imagine how we will be able to possibly cope without alcohol. Here are just a few suggestions for how you can do this.

  • In Alcoholics Anonymous, they recommend that members do not make any major changes in the first year, and going on holiday could be considered a major change.
  • If you do need to go on holiday, try to pick a location where the focus is not on heavy drinking.
  • A great option might be to go on a holiday where the focus is on sobriety. For example, you might decide to go for a rehab aftercare program in somewhere like Thailand.
  • Make sure that the people you are travelling with on holiday understand and respect your need to stay sober.
  • Try to arrange it so that you will be travelling with another person in recovery.
  • Arrange it so that you can go to some recovery meetings at the location you will be staying.
  • Make contact with people in recovery who live in the area where you will be going on holiday.
  • Take along some recovery resources such as books – this is much easier to do these days with the availability of tablet devices that can provide access to e-books, videos, forums, and all the rest of it.
  • Speak to your therapist about your plans to go on holiday.
  • Make sure that there are going to be many non-drinking activities available for you on this trip.
  • If you want to drink something a bit special, try some of the non-alcoholic cocktails.
  • Make sure when ordering food abroad that it does not contain alcohol. If you are unsure, it is always best to ask.
  • Online options such as Skype can be a good way to stay in touch with your recovery friends back at home.

Where to Find Support during the Summer Months

The options for support during the summer months would include those listed below.

  • An addiction therapist can be a great resource for support and encouragement.
  • If you have been through rehab, there will usually be no problem with you contacting the therapists there for advice.
  • Regular attendance at recovery fellowship meetings is a good way to get support during the summer months.
  • Friends who have been sober for a long time will usually be a good source for advice.
  • Even friends who have never had a problem with addiction can be a great help so long as they are willing to respect your situation in regards to alcohol.

The internet is full of addiction recovery resources such as blogs, recovery forums, recovery videos, recovery podcasts, chat rooms, and online meetings.

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