How To Stay On Track With Recovery During Social Events This Summer
Outside of the holidays, summertime is one of the hardest times of year for people in recovery, in part because there are so many social events that include substances. Cookouts, birthday parties, and weddings are just a few of the events you might be invited to this summer, so it’s important to have a plan and know how to handle a difficult situation before it comes up.
It can be hard–or impossible–to avoid some of these events altogether, so being prepared will help you avoid awkward questions and stay on track while you avoid temptation. Here are some of the best tips on how to do just that.
Bring a friend
It’s always easier to get through a tough social situation when you have a friend by your side. Whether it’s someone who is also in recovery or just a friend who doesn’t drink, ask someone to accompany you to the event for support.
Bring your own drink
Many summertime social events take place outdoors, where there’s ample opportunity to crack open a cold beer or have a glass of wine. It will be easier for you to resist the temptation if you have your own drink, especially when it comes to people asking why you’re not partaking in the alcoholic beverages. Keep the water bottle or soda in your hand as much as possible to avoid those questions and to keep from having to go to the bar at all.
Take care of yourself
Taking care of your emotional, physical, and mental needs is imperative all year round, but when you know you’ll be going to an event where substances may be present, it’s especially important. Practice self-care by eating well-balanced meals, exercising daily, and doing something healthy that you enjoy every day. That can be something as small as taking a long hot bath or something bigger, like treating yourself to a shopping trip for new clothes. Staying healthy and allowing yourself some positive pleasures can help you hold onto your motivation.
Taking care of yourself also means keeping in touch with your sponsor and staying on top of your mental health when necessary by speaking to a counselor. You might also consider getting a service dog; while they can be expensive due to the intense training they have to receive, they can also significantly reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and can help you focus on your recovery.
There’s no rule that says you have to stay at the event for a certain amount of time, so plan on leaving early if you know you’re not going to be comfortable very long. You don’t have to make excuses or lie to the host; simply say you can’t stay and thank them for having you over.
Always have an exit strategy
It’s a good idea to drive yourself to these events so you can leave when you’re ready, but if that’s not possible, ask a friend to be ready to help you make an exit or set up an Uber account on your phone.
Stay away from negativity
While you may not be able to cut out everyone from your life who is associated with your substance abuse days, it’s important to make new friends and stay away from bad influences. Find ways to get social that don’t involve alcohol or drugs, such as joining a book club or gym, and make an effort to reach out to people who share the same values as you.
Remember, staying sober is a job that requires patience and time. Be easy on yourself and focus on your strengths as much as possible to stay on track.