Cookouts, beach parties and festivals can all be great ways to enjoy the beautiful summer weather. However, for those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, these situations may conjure memories of their substance abuse. These memories could be potential triggers for relapse. The first three months after treatment are the most vulnerable period in recovery. If you’re worried about a loved one maintaining recovery this summer, there are some ways you can help keep them on track.
How Does Relapse Happen?
Relapse happens in stages. Stress, poor eating or sleeping habits and a variety of factors can begin undermining someone’s recovery efforts on a subconscious level. This is the emotional relapse phase, and you can help by staying connected to your loved one. If you know he is experiencing something difficult, offer your support. Once he begins thinking or talking about using again, the mental relapse phase has begun, but it’s still possible to pull back before making a physical relapse. Help your loved one focus on all the hard work he’s done to reach this point and provide support and encouragement.
Keep Busy to Keep on Track for Recovery
The more free time someone has to sit around and reminisce about the “good ol’ days” they used to have when they were using (and conveniently ignoring the harsher realities of their alcohol addiction), the more likely they are to succumb to temptation. You could suggest the following activities to help your loved one keep their minds and bodies occupied:
- Art, cooking or music classes allow you to meet new people while developing new skills. You might encourage your loved one to pursue a passion project or hobby they’ve been putting off. If it’s a shared interest, you could both participate and use the opportunity to encourage each other.
- Gardening and hiking could be great ways to enjoy the beautiful summer weather. Just be careful not to overdo it in the heat.
- For those that are athletically inclined, rec league sports can help you meet people with similar interests. Recovery-oriented teams are active in some areas and can be an additional support system for those working to stay sober.
- Charitable organizations in your area often have summer activities and events where you can donate your time to help improve your community.
Talk with Your Loved One About Their Comfort Level During Recovery
If your loved one has been sober for a while, she might feel more comfortable at cookouts, parties or festivals where alcohol or other temptations could be present. Talk with her and help plan ways to protect her sobriety. You could offer to accompany her for support. Discuss potential triggers ahead of time so that you’ll both know what to expect. While at the event, check periodically to make sure she still feels comfortable in the situation.
Addiction Treatment at Design for Change
When you or a loved one needs help with addiction, Design for Change is here for you. We understand that addiction is a complicated disease, and no two cases or people are exactly alike. That’s why you’ll receive a personalized treatment program designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to achieve and maintain sobriety. We will work with you on relapse prevention techniques and identifying potential triggers to help keep you on the path to recovery. If cost is a concern, your insurance may help cover drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Contact our team today to break the destructive cycle of addiction and begin healing your body and mind.