Keeping Sober During Summer Get Together Season
Anyone who has found sobriety realizes their hold on it could be tenuous. The risk of relapse is real, and it could become a reality if sobriety is not guarded with great care. During the summer event season, the chances of relapse could be acute unless a healthy approach is chosen that emphasizes relapse prevention and wellness above all else.
Summer is a time for social gatherings and outdoor fun. There is a spirit of celebration in the air that can leave you feeling unburdened and liberated and anxious to share memorable times with family members and friends.
Your need to feel unbound and free and to enjoy the company of others may be even more heightened if you’re new to sobriety and have been working hard to maintain it. Summer get-togethers can lighten the mood and put you in a more hopeful and optimistic state of mind at a time when your need to lift your spirits is strong.
But with opportunity comes vulnerability, and that is where you are as someone who must deal with an ongoing risk of relapse. The summer season has the potential to put you in uncomfortable situations where drinking is common, and you are all but on your own, forced to navigate the minefields as you struggle to preserve your commitment to a healthy lifestyle. If you aren’t careful, your sobriety could slip away in the blink of an eye, your best intentions undermined by temptations that you hadn’t fully prepared for and were unable to handle.
However, your fear of relapse does not have to keep you trapped in your house or leave you feeling like an exile. You can still enjoy the summer get-together season as much as anyone else if you take the proper precautions and never forget for a moment how vital your sobriety is to your future and your life.
The Importance of Moderating Alcohol Exposure
Now that summer is here in earnest, you should think carefully about what summer events you’ll attend and which you won’t. Ideally, you’d like to enter the summer season with no limits, ready to enter any environment that can bring you pleasure and companionship. But realistically, there may be some places where the drinking will be so prominent that you wouldn’t feel comfortable or safe with such a high level of exposure. It could be a good idea to avoid alcohol-heavy events altogether since nothing that happens there is going to encourage sobriety even if you are determined to stay strong.
As a part of your commitment to wellness, you should be willing to make some sacrifices or alterations in the way you live. The summer get-together season might be one of the times that calls for some significant changes if you’ve previously attended events where drinking is rampant and where your behavior was not always safe or responsible. It’s a matter of priorities, and if you have to change your priorities to stay sober over the long haul, so be it.
The Risk of Going it Alone
People who are new to sobriety shouldn’t be alone when they enter environments where drinking is going on. This creates an extra layer of vulnerability that can be extremely hazardous to a person’s efforts to move on from alcohol.
Without the support of a loved one or close friend, the person new to sobriety has no one to confide in if they’re feeling the urge to break their pledge to stay clean and sober. They have no one to watch out for them, to back them up and encourage them if they’re feeling weak at a particular moment. They have no one to run interference for them with others who may not understand the sober person’s situation. They are without vital emotional support at a time when they desperately need it, putting themselves at a much-increased risk of relapse as a result.
It’s a bad idea to go on any summer outing where drinking is taking place if you’re completely on your own. At these exciting summer events, you should always have the companionship you can trust, consisting of a person or persons who fully support your dedication to sobriety and whom you know will be there for you if you find yourself tempted to drink.
Removing Negative Influences From Your Life
Your desire to return to your usual living habits is understandable and even commendable. Alcohol has robbed you of so much time already. It’s easy to see why you don’t want to let it steal any more time from you than it already has. Your eagerness to attend fun summer get-togethers is a sign that you’re ready to get back to living, and those events are something that you absolutely deserve the chance to enjoy.
But as you plan ahead for the summer season, you do need to think realistically about the relationships in your life. While your past indulgences in alcohol and possibly drugs were your own responsibility, you likely had at least a few companions whose influence on you in this regard was something less than positive.
The people who shared your substance abuse were your enablers, and you were likely their enablers as well. If they’ve made the same commitment to getting clean and sober as you have and have been through treatment, they could be a part of your life, and they could have a constructive impact on you. But if they’re still trapped in a hellish existence of substance abuse, you should avoid them during the summer and beyond.
You need to be with people who will support your sobriety and who are not struggling with drugs and alcohol themselves. Should your old friends reach out to you for help and advice because they want to follow your lead, you may be able to have some contact with them. If they aren’t yet ready to make any changes, however, you should stay away from them until they are.
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The Value of Letting People Know Where You’re At and Why
A person who has embraced sobriety has done so because they have a vision for their future that is brighter and better than the present they’ve been living. This is an important element of your sobriety, and it is one you should talk about whenever the opportunity presents itself.
You cannot go silent because you’re afraid others won’t want to hear what you have to say. When you attend any summer event or get-together, you should be ready and willing to speak about why you’re not drinking to anyone who is willing to listen. Your focus shouldn’t be on what you’ve had to give up but on what you’ve gained by your decision and how it was necessary to save your life.
The truth is that if you can speak eloquently and honestly about your decision to remain clean and sober, most people will admire and respect you for it and offer their support and encouragement. From your perspective, being open and honest will remove any excuse you might have given yourself to break your sobriety and have just one drink or many drinks. Your honesty represents a public declaration of commitment to a new way of living, and your openness will create a more favorable social climate in general as you seek to preserve your sobriety against any possible temptation.
Getting Your Life Back If the Unthinkable Happens
No matter how diligent and proactive you’ve been, the maintenance of your sobriety is never a sure thing. In a moment of weakness, forgetfulness, or unexpected temptation, your grasp on sobriety could suddenly slip away, putting you back in danger and putting you at risk for a terrible final outcome.
The good news is that even if this happens, it doesn’t mean you have to start all over again. Relapses are common in recovery, and they can be overcome without a catastrophic result that takes you back to ground zero.
If you do relapse, it is essential to contact a recovery and treatment professional to ask for assistance right away. In the weeks to come, you’ll undoubtedly need some individual, group, and family counseling to help you face up to what has happened as you seek to reestablish a solid commitment to long-term sobriety.
As a consequence of your unfortunate choice, you may or may not need to return to rehabilitation on an inpatient basis. If your fall from grace is not a one-time slip but quickly develops into a pattern of heavy drinking, it could be an excellent idea to spend some additional time in a licensed residential treatment facility, which will give you access to expert care and assistance as you strive to regain control over your self-destructive behavior.
Regardless of how the scenario plays out, a summertime relapse doesn’t have to be a life-altering disaster. You can get your life and your recovery permanently back on track as long as you get the help you need to avert a potential long-term crisis.