Substance Abuse Often Rises in the Summer: Ideas for Keeping Busy.

Unfortunately, substance abuse rates often increase during the summer. The main cause is the general increase in parties, gatherings, and get-togethers. Between family picnics, holiday barbecues, music festivals, weddings, and graduation parties, there seems to always be something going on and alcohol to indulge in. 

This summer is especially different as states are reopening, restrictions are loosening and people are eager to make up for time lost. You might be hearing your friends and family saying, “We need to get together” – and you know what that means. 

It’s not easy being newly sober, especially in a rather unsettled world. But there are ways to have a happy, fun, and enjoyable summer without putting your sobriety at risk. Below are some of our best tips for navigating your summer without substance abuse triggers (drugs and alcohol). 

Be Honest About Your Triggers 

It’s important to be aware of your triggers so that you know what people, places, and activities might make you think about using again. Since last summer was relatively quiet due to the pandemic, you may have to refresh yourself on your triggers. 

Cut out the things that you have to, or opt for a sober alternative instead. If you have to face something, bring a sober friend and have an exit strategy. This way, you can remove yourself from a potentially harmful situation if you have to. 

Keep Busy with a Summer Job (or Volunteer) 

If you have more free time in the summer, consider filling your calendar with a summer job or volunteer opportunity. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or stressful. You can coach a youth soccer team, work as a camp counselor or donate your time to fostering dogs. All of these things will fill your time and provide you with a sense of purpose. 

Pursue a Summer Hobby 

Another thing you can do is dedicate your summer to a new hobby or passion. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn to cook on the grill, run in a 5K, hike a trail or be a strong swimmer. There are many activities you can pursue over the summer because the weather is good and your schedule might be more flexible. Use Meetup to find others who share similar interests as you. There are groups for just about everything! 

Become a Sponsor 

If you have worked the steps and are active in the 12-step community, now might be the right time to become a sponsor. Helping someone who is just starting their recovery from substance abuse will remind you of how far you’ve come. People have a tendency to glamorize their substance use until they actually remember what they’ve been through. 

Plan a Sober Getaway 

There are so many opportunities to travel or enjoy a vacation without drugs or alcohol. You can go camping, visit extended friends and family, go sightseeing with some sober friends or sign up for a sober vacation (a quick Google search will turn up plenty of sober vacations!). 

If you’re not comfortable spending an extended time away from home, attend a retreat instead. They usually only last a couple of days, and your time will be structured. Again, a quick search on Google will let you know of all the sober retreats happening near you. 

Awakenings Treatment Center is Open During the Summer

These are just a few of the ways you can have a fun and enjoyable summer without feeling the need to drink or use drugs. Some days are harder than others, but always remember that each day is another step forward in your sobriety. 

If you feel that you need extra support at any time, contact Awakenings Treatment Center in Agoura Hills, CA. Our holistic outpatient treatment center treats substance use and mental health disorders of all severities. We can help you start sobriety or strengthen your recovery.