During active addiction, summer may have been characterized by drunken parties, heavy drug use, and a constant focus on getting and staying high. In active recovery, the summer becomes a blank canvas, an opportunity to create a new way of life and new traditions that will sustain you in sobriety for years to come.
Here are just a few ways you can get the most out of your first summer in recovery and launch your new life:
- Create a summer-specific treatment goal. During the summer, therapists’ schedules change, fewer people show up to 12-Step meetings, and in general, some of the services that are available the rest of the year may not be easily accessible, making it a great time to focus on a specific treatment goal. Consider some of your short-term objectives and make a plan to make them happen this summer: finding a safe and sober house, getting a job that works for you, exploring new treatment options in your area, or otherwise working toward a specific goal that will improve your stability in recovery.
- Get a job. Even if you have a hard time finding employment the rest of the year, there is a lot of seasonal employment opportunities that only open up in the summertime. Depending on your skills and areas of interest, you will certainly be able to find something, like working at a nearby amusement park, at a summer concert venue, or at a pool or beach. There is always extra work available.
- Try different styles of working out. Are you an avid swimmer? Go for a run. Do you go to the gym and just end up on the treadmill every day? Try a group fitness class? Do you love yoga? Sign up for a team sport. Summer is the time to try something new.
- Spend time with your family. With kids out of school, summer is a great time to begin the process of rebuilding some of the relationships that may have been harmed during active addiction. Connect with your children, your spouse, your parents, and close friends who have stood by your side throughout your addiction and show them some of the ways you have changed in recovery.
- Head back to rehab. If you find you are struggling in recovery during the summer and facing significant cravings or triggers for relapse – or if you have relapsed – then it is a good idea to consider a return to some level of drug addiction treatment. Outpatient services may be enough to help you get back on track, but it may also be appropriate to re-enroll in an intensive outpatient program that provides you with intensive therapy and support.
How will you spend your first summer in recovery?