Summer Relapse Triggers and How to Manage Them

Relapse Triggers – How to Manage Them This Summer

We don’t want to share this news to alarm you, but rather to keep you on your toes! Summer is here, but as long as you understand your potential relapse triggers and continue working your program, you can enjoy your best summer yet - without relapsing!

Summer offers an opportunity to take a break from some of your responsibilities. School’s done for the year, workloads are often lighter and schedules more relaxed. But with summer also comes more parties, festivals, barbecues, and drinking, making it a difficult time to stay sober. The data proves this to be true - July is a busy month for drug rehabs and relapse rates tend to be highest during the summer. 

Understanding Your Relapse Triggers 

A trigger is any person, place, or thing that can lead to cravings or substance abuse. Triggers are all over - they could be certain songs, smells of smoke, hangouts, or old friends. When coming into contact with these things, you may be overwhelmed by difficult emotions like anxiety, stress, or depression. This can make the urge to use drugs and alcohol even more intense.

In the summer, there are additional triggers that you probably don’t come across during other parts of the year. There are music festivals, graduation parties, bonfires, lounging by the pool, vacations, fireworks, and more. Being around people who are drinking can threaten your sobriety. This is why you can’t get complacent, otherwise, these urges will creep up and possibly derail your recovery. 

Making a Plan to Manage Your Relapse Triggers 

The best way to avoid drug cravings is to stay away from the things that create a strong emotional response. This can be done for certain things - you can take a different route to work or block old friends from calling you. But there are other things that are out of your control. For this reason, it’s important to have a plan that keeps you away from the triggers you can control and protects you from those you can't.

Here are some effective ways to help manage your relapse triggers: 

  • Avoid stress. When you feel stressed, take a few minutes to detach yourself from the situation and collect your emotions. Take a deep breath, go for a walk or swim, or call your sponsor. Stress is a part of life, but you can learn to control your response to it.
  • Reach out. Stay connected to your support circle. When you’re feeling down, let someone know and they can help you talk things through. Oftentimes, it takes a fresh perspective to get you back on track.
  • Stay busy. Boredom is a common relapse trigger. Use the summer to your advantage - get outdoors, go swimming, plan a camping trip, join a softball league, and so on. It’s important to fill your time with constructive activities. 
  • Keep educating yourself. Continue learning about addiction, your triggers, and how to stay sober. You can do this through your 12-step meetings, self-help groups, counseling, neurofeedback therapy, and others. 

hello summer


Considering Addiction Treatment

If you feel that you need additional support during this time, consider joining an outpatient rehab. These programs are flexible and provide you with the support you need at the time. Some clients receive treatment five days a week, while others only come in two days a week. 

Outpatient care can be a wonderful supplement to what you’re already doing, but you’ll receive personalized care from qualified professionals. Here are some reasons for choosing Awakening Treatment Center’s outpatient rehab to help you through the summer: 

  • Receive an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs, choices, and concerns. 
  • Get support for the whole family through our Awakenings Family Program.
  • Meet new friends who are going through similar struggles as you.
  • Get treatment for an underlying mental health problem like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder. 
  • Work through underlying trauma due to PTSD or painful memories. 
  • Discover effective ways for managing stress and anxiety, plus renewing your mind, body, and spirit. 

Remember, outpatient rehab is flexible and matched to your exact needs. You can still live at home and enjoy your favorite things while getting some extra support to carry you through the summer. 

Does Insurance Cover Outpatient Treatment? 

Health insurance generally covers some outpatient treatment costs, but to what extent depends on your insurance plan and other factors. Awakenings Treatment Center accepts most major insurance plans, including Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Beacon, Cigna, Tricare, and United Behavioral Health. 

Call your insurance company to determine what they are willing to cover, or contact Awakenings Treatment Center and we can find this information out for you. Luckily, outpatient treatment is less expensive than inpatient treatment, so people are often able to get a large portion of their care covered. 

How to Avoid Relapse Triggers and Stay Sober this Summer 

If you feel that you can do without an outpatient program this summer, that’s okay, too! There is no right or wrong decision, we just want people to know that they can supplement their recoveries at any time with an outpatient program. 

Fortunately, there are many other ways outside of treatment to stay sober. The most important thing is that you don’t let your guard down. Continue working your program, staying connected to your support circle, and filling your days with meaningful activities. Below are some ideas to help you stay sober over the summer: 

  • Start a project. Summer is a great time to tackle new projects. You can start something in your home, such as updating the kitchen or painting your rooms a new color. Many skills can be learned and further developed by watching YouTube videos and reading online tutorials. 
  • Try a new activity. Aside from sports, there are plenty of summer activities you can enjoy - gardening, fishing, and outdoor landscaping to name a few. You can even offer to mow lawns for extra cash. 
  • Plan a sober vacation. If you’re looking to get away from things for a few days, why not plan a vacation? As long as you’re mindful of your triggers, you can plan something that’s safe, sober, and enjoyable. 
  • Volunteer your time. Volunteering is one of the most beneficial activities you can do. You can connect with others, make a difference in others’ lives, and see your life from a new perspective. Many people find their purpose through volunteer work. 

Contact Awakenings Treatment Center Today 

Awakenings Treatment Center helps people from all over the country heal from their addictions and grow stronger in their personal lives. We are here for you and offer various levels of care to support your journey. With a combination of holistic and science-backed treatments, you can find everything under one roof. Contact us today to learn more about how we can supplement your recovery this summer.