Category Archives: Recovery

PHASES OF RECOVERY – PHASE ONE

Phases of Recovery

Recovery does not happen at once. It occurs in phases. There are many theories regarding the correct number of phases and their length. Each theory is an opinion and is meant to act as a guideline. In general, the length of time it takes to complete each phase is mostly based on your efforts. Completing specific tasks doesn’t necessarily end a phase. Recovery can’t just be computed. It also has to be felt. Rather than completing tasks like a robot, attempt to sincerely connect with your full emotional experience and the spirit of recovery. This approach will give you a greater chance of success.

To achieve and maintain quality recovery, do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes!

Phase One: Primary Recovery

Phase One, the primary recovery phase, starts the day you commit to your recovery and extends for about six to twelve months. The goal of Phase One is to develop the foundation you need to be successful in recovery. In this early recovery period, it’s vital to open up your mind and build a support team. Listen to trusted others, work with a mentor, and, if required, seek the advice of a MD. Work within a recovery structure, completing needed tasks and goals.

Withdrawal from drugs and sugar occurs during the beginning of the primary recovery phase. Your initial treatment program is completed during this phase. The supportive treatment that follows primary care, is usually called continuing care or aftercare. This aftercare is very valuable. Make use of it!

It’s essential that you stay actively involved in your recovery throughout Phase One and beyond. It is widely believed that you should maintain a solid recovery structure for at least two years; however, you need to be involved in your recovery for as long as is necessary to be successful. Many people stop participating early and relapse.

Phase One: 6-12 months building a foundation - Listen, learn and follow.

The Three Major Stages of Primary Recovery are:

Withdrawal: During the initial period of physical and emotional withdrawal, you need to focus on taking care of yourself. Consume quality nutrition, drink water, and exercise; be around supportive people and attempt to do small but positive and productive tasks. Stay focused on necessary and immediate needs and issues you can do something about. Initial drug withdrawal will take between a few days to a few weeks (six or more for marijuana). For some medications, it takes years for full withdrawal.

High-quality nutrition reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Honeymoon: As you start to become healthier, you may feel overly happy with your newfound recovery. The return of your health, energy, and brain chemistry may make you feel ready to go. You may have thoughts of ending treatment. Be very careful! This sense of well being isn’t entirely whole. You aren’t healthy yet. It takes time to heal, so don’t take on things that are unnecessary. Focus on building your recovery. Usually, this honeymoon feeling will last about three months, but it varies according to the person and the addiction.

Always remember your negative using history! Especially if early recovery is easy!

Facing Reality: The truth of your reality at this point may be more about the wreckage than the rewards, and that’s hard to deal with. You’ll come down from the honeymoon period and remember that parts of recovery are hard, not just positive and happy. This becomes a risky period. At times, you may feel like going back to old, familiar situations that provided a false sense (even briefly) of happiness. Because early using memories may be pleasant, they can easily be romanced. Remember, this is a relapse symptom. Breathe and face reality. It is the only way you can move past the wreckage.

Always remember your negative using history! Especially if early recovery is easy!

During Phase One, many people will feel better quicker than expected. This may lead them to question if they were as sick as they thought. Always remember your past. Your recovery process should follow a proven approach that works for you, and then add personal aspects to meet your unique needs.

If you found this article helpful, please share!

Immediate Recovery Work – Part Two

Thriving Beyond Addiction Support Groups

Support Groups

At first, you’ll be in a state of neediness and find the support of your core group of friends and family invaluable. Along with normal needs, you will have new recovery needs. Assume your using acquaintances and even using friends will disappear.

Your support group is your lifeline; stay in close, daily contact!

Seven is a good number of people for a core support group. It’s good to be in contact with at least one person everyday. Early recovery is a time to affirm current positive friendships and renew old ones, especially people who understand recovery and with whom you can share feelings and talk through difficult situations. Very likely, during addiction, substances and behaviors replaced people, numbing your needs in an attempt to overcome personal pain. Now you will want to have supportive people around you to meet your emotional, social, and physical needs.

Accountability Partner

You and your accountability partner will support, encourage, and carefront (a loving type of confronting) each other about achieving tasks and goals. Your accountability partner may be the only one you can rely on for the truth. You both must be totally honest with each other.

See yourself in the future, engaging with your closest friends.

Connecting With Others

In recovery, you will need to replace the friends with whom you practiced your addiction. With new friendships that support your recovery, you can begin to heal and learn how to be emotionally available. You’ll want to listen and open your heart to the needs, wants, and experiences of others. Ask questions, listen, and have a dialogue. Show your interest, understanding, and empathy through your response to them. Then share your experiences and pay attention to their feedback. Do they show interest and match your deep level of sharing?

Observe how people relate to each other. You may want to adopt some of their relational styles. If you still have trouble with relationships, pay attention to how you interact with others. Ask yourself why you shy away from relationships, and listen for the answers. It might be your fear of being embarrassed, ridiculed, or rejected. Choose to move past your negative feelings and take positive action.

Emotional Support

Recovery is about change, which takes emotional energy. Feelings will need to be felt, understood, and dealt with. It’s important that you have friends who are understanding of your ups and downs, as emotional support is vital to your healthy development.

Buddy System

A buddy system is when a pact is made between addicts to help each other through recovery. This can be very valuable, but it can also be destructive. If using the buddy system, team up with a motivated person(s) you are connected to (non-sexually) in a personal or emotionally way. Be clear with each other about expectations and limits. Set up specific agreements for dealing with and responding to difficult situations, such as style differences, personal issues, and the possibility of relapsing.

Social Support

You’ll benefit from a support group or fellowship to motivate you and provide you with healthy activities, especially when you’re easily triggered. Recovering communities (12-Step, your treatment program, a professional support group, or an Internet group) are some of the best social networking resources available to help you work through general and practical issues of addiction recovery. For example, you can take a person from a support group with you when you must attend an activity where triggers are expected, such as a food addict going to a restaurant or a drug addict visiting a neighborhood where drugs are easily available.

If you found this article helpful, please share!

IMMEDIATE RECOVERY WORK – PART ONE

Road to Recovery

 Relax, Gain Balance and Feel Stronger

After initiating recovery by addressing urgent issues, like detoxification and beginning abstinence, focus on the next level of tasks. As you move into each task, you’ll gradually relax, gain balance and feel stronger. Remember to breathe!

The Void

The Void

When you refrain from the behaviors you practiced in your addiction, a natural void will be created. To fill this void, load your life with positive experiences, like new people, places, situations, and activities. Don’t leave your voids empty, or it’ll fill up with whatever comes along, good or bad. Positive experiences will override the negative ones. Happy people need 3 positive experiences to every one negative one. Stay away from the negative, embrace the positive!

Your Approach

First, breathe and pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and what’s going on around you.

Second, keeping breathing and ask “Are my thoughts and behaviors supporting my recovery? What are my most important needs and how can I meet them?”

The effectiveness of your approach to recovery will be greatly affected by three factors:

  • Your beliefs about yourself, life, and recovery.
  • The level of your motivation and commitment.
  • The structure and strength of your approach.

Your awareness will help you build and strengthen your approach. Are your beliefs and thoughts about recovery accurate, healthy, and helpful? Are you connected with your motivation and commitment for recovery?

Recovery Contract

A contract is your commitment to do what is needed to be successful in your recovery and to rebuild your life. Signing a contract with yourself can finalize your motivation and commitment to starting and pursuing your recovery. Make your contract (tasks, goals, or milestones) clear, specific, measurable, and dated (start and end). Sign it in front of a support person. Keep it visible!

Consistent Recovery Focus

Consistent Recovery Focus

Throughout the day you need to remain focused on your personal reasons for recovery and on the positive aspects of life in recovery. This is vital to get you through triggers and cravings. A reminder strategy, such as the Red DOT Reminder Check-In System, can be quite useful in overriding negative triggers with positive cues to refocus on your recovery.

Daily Recovery Activity

From the moment you wake up each day, you want to visualize and act on your desire to build the quality life that you want, which is Your Recovering Future.    A daily recovery activity keeps you occupied and on track with your goals. Daily recovery activities include spending quality time with healthy family and friends, church, classes, sober dances, conferences focused on health and growth, and any other positive experience that offers you support in your recovery. Your daily recovery activity gives you a clear reason to stay clean. Plan a week in advance and don’t go to bed without having your next daily recovery activity confirmed.

If you found this article helpful, please share!

Getting Started on Your Immediate Recovery

Start Your Journey into Your Recovering Future

Take appropriate action. Plan, build support for, or start a treatment program! You will benefit from reading my complete book – Thriving Beyond Addiction – but reading it without taking action only gives you facts, not results. Recovery is an emotional experience. You’ll need to open up and recognize your feelings, and allow them to guide you. Once you understand what you need to do, take action as soon as possible.

IMMEDIATE TASKS

Finding Support

Every recovering addict needs help and encouragement. Even if you decide to use only my book as the basis for your recovery (not recommended), you’ll want an active core support group. Consider friends and family as part of you support group, ideally who are in recovery and can relate, but only accept help from those who’ll give you quality support and good direction, who’ll be there for you in the hard times. Trust those you have chosen to work with, unless you discover you shouldn’t.

Eliminating Cravings and Neutralizing Triggers

Addictions occur because of excessive behavior, like the abuse of substances, that overstimulates the neuropathways in the brain, causing cravings that can be difficult to suppress. Cravings do not go away overnight. All addicts in recovery have cravings, which can cause a range of issues, from occasional discomfort to an addict’s return to using. Though cravings can develop on their own, they are also caused by triggers, environmental cues that initiate the rapid fire of neuropathways, such as when a smoker sees a cigarette. To be successful in recovery, it is mandatory to minimize or eliminate these triggers.

There are effective techniques for neutralizing triggers. Cravings can also be reduced or eliminated with options such as: awareness of your desire for recovery (called Your Heart Trigger); distractions like fun and humor, nutritional supplements (Vitamin D, Omega 3, and L-glutamine), and a high-quality diet. Always check with your M.D.

Reduce Cravings

Stress is a major cause of triggering. Reducing stress will neutralize triggers or at least lower the likelihood of being triggered and succumbing to relapse.

Other methods to deter cravings include acupuncture, meditation, progressive relaxation, and sleep.

Medical Exam

Medical Exam

A physical examination by a medical doctor is highly recommended, especially when abstaining from drug and food addictions. Be honest with your MD about your situation and issues. For instance, sex addicts need to get tested for STDs. Ask about vitamin, mineral, amino acid, and nutritional supplements. Medication for relief of physical withdrawal symptoms may be necessary. If possible, work with a physician who specializes in addiction medicine (or at least one who understands addictions) and who will consult with an addiction nutrition specialist. Ask for a referral through the association, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

 

 

If you found this article helpful, please share!

A NEW BEGINNING: INTRODUCTION INTO RECOVERY

Breathe deeply and slowly!

Welcome to recovery. I bet it took you a long time to get here. Breathe. Your life is about to change for the better – if you stay on your recovery road. You may experience some hard bumps along the way, but it is worth the effort to work through and smooth them out. If you don’t return to using, you WILL realize many positive changes in your life. Until you start recovery, you are stuck in “Nowhere Land,” with your mind confused and your heart caught between two worlds. Treatment professionals call this the pre-treatment stage. During the pre-treatment stage, your addict self falsely believes using is the answer to all your problems, while the dopamine in your brain, altered by your addiction, incorrectly sends you the message that you need to use to survive. At the same time, you know you need to change your lifestyle. What a struggle!

It takes courage to start recovery, courage you have shown even by picking up this book to learn how to change your life for the better. By using your inner and outer resources, you can keep traveling along your recovery road, and be successful, no matter what is thrown your way. Stay courageous! You can do it!

Recovery begins as you commit!

To Get a Good Start:

  • Contact your physician! Have a check-up! Be honest! Follow all medical advice.
  • Practice abstinence from all addictive substances and behaviors.
  • Join a recovery program. Sit there, listen, and take it all in. You do not have to do a thing. Magic can happen if you just keep going back.
  • Accept recovery into your life. It takes work, but consider whatever event that got you into recovery as a blessing. Do whatever it takes to stay the course. As you progress along your path, acknowledge, nurture, and reward yourself.

It's in Your Hands - Honesty, Acceptance, Nutrition, Direction, Support - Five Keys for recovery!

Learn about the PINK CLOUD that is experienced in early recovery. You may not consciously want to use, the abstinence may feel wonderful, but when this “pink cloud” collapses (and it will), your fall to earthly reality will be much easier if you have begun building your recovery structure.

See yourself successfully completing your first steps!

If you want to start your recovery, don’t allow your addict self to sabotage what you want by indulging in, “I’ll do it soon,” or “I’ll be okay,” type of thinking. If you truly cannot begin now, set yourself up for success by taking action to ensure that you will follow through ASAP. Examples of taking action are: contacting a referral center and asking for help; making an appointment with a counselor for the first possible appointment time; going to a self-help support group meeting; or signing a clear and specific, time-limited contract with yourself and putting it in a visible place. Whatever you decide to do, commit, take whatever action you can, and follow through.

READY? GREAT! LET’S GET STARTED!

If you found this article helpful, please share!

INTRODUCING YOUR RECOVERING FUTURE

Your Recovering Future

Your Recovering FutureTM – These highlight boxes assist you in creating a vision of your recovery in the future, to see how your life will change and to begin to feel the benefits of being in recovery.  Your Recovering Future is a powerful, positive image of your ideal recovery. Make this imagined recovering future so desirable that you’re compelled, in the present, to do whatever it takes to create it and keep it.   The YRF image that you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell needs to be realistic and obtainable.

A recovery program with a structure has to be at the heart of YRF. You’ll use that structure to help set yourself up for success. You’ll be molding and managing your recovery daily and reviewing it weekly, monthly, and yearly. The YRF model has three important aspects:

Structure is your friend!

Structure:

Set yourself up for success with a structure    that makes it easier to stay on your recovery path than it is to get off of it. If, on both sides of your recovery road, there are recovery reminders, supportive people, and a solid program, you’ll be aware when you’re sliding off – just like how you would know if you were running over speed bumps, hitting orange construction cones, or going up a steep embankment. Your structure makes it easier for you to go straight down your recovery track.

Vision:

Visualize the completion of your next positive recovering event or milestone, such as celebrating your next recovery chip, completing a step or a page n a recovery workbook, or attending a family event. Like a motion picture playing in your mind’s eye, imagine your future with all five senses – take a few minutes to do this every morning and at night. Make your vision as detailed an image as you can – or start with a simple snapshot that you can build on.

Acknowledge the total truth of what’s  happening today in relationship to Your Recovering Future. For example:

  • “I’m having a bad day. I want to use, but I have three days of clean time that I don’t want to throw away. My goal is to get 30 days clean. I’m not going to use because I want to feel proud of myself in My Recovering Future.”
  • “I’m excited, confused, and scared about starting my new recovering life, even though I hope it will be wonderful.”

Keep all negative beliefs and attitudes out of your speech and thoughts. It’s difficult to do this when, chances are, negative thoughts and emotions triggered you to engage in your addiction. Once you start thinking or saying, “I can’t do it,” or “It’s too hard,” or “F___ it – it’s not worth it,” RUN to the nearest phone and call someone in your recovery support group.

Action:

Setting yourself up for success is about taking action now. For example, if you need to do something next week that you know will trigger your addiction, right now, while you are thinking of it, arrange to be accompanied by a recovering friend(s) who can support and remind you to stay on task.

Remember to live your recovery one step at a time – but don’t lose the vision of your future. That way, your unconscious will adopt these new visions and assist you with creating Your Recovering Future.

If you found this article helpful, please share!

INTRODUCING RECOVERING INTELLIGENCE

Recovering IntelligenceTM – These highlight boxes focus on intelligent recovery options for building and maintaining your recovery.

Recovering Intelligence boxes remind you how to think, feel, and behave in order to create and maintain successful recovery. RI boxes help you to review what has worked and what hasn’t worked in your life; and to then build on what worked by adding knowledge, tools, strategies, and positive experiences to it.

  • To develop a high level of RI, you must do the following:
  • Accept and embrace self-awareness.
  • Develop the ability to observe yourself and your situation accurately.
  • Understand how to set up, work, and live an effective personal recovery program.
  • Learn the Seven Intelligences of Recovery. Develop and use them until they become part of who you are. (See list below.)
  • Understand how your past behavior, roles, strategies, situations, and decisions helped form the values, attitudes, and beliefs you have today.
  • Develop a basic understanding of who you are – your issues, your addict and sober personality, and the strengths that worked well for you in the past.
  • Understand self-development and actively engage in your personal growth.
  • Learn how to achieve your tasks, goals, and dreams and build Your Recovering FutureTM.

Neurotransmitters

The Seven Intelligences of Recovery

These intelligences can overlap. They are:

  • Emotional Intelligence: The ability to know your feelings and how to effectively deal with them.
  • Growth and Healing Intelligence: The ability to evaluate, learn, and grow; and to apologize, forgive, and heal from life injuries.
  • Intimacy Intelligence: The ability to open up, to trust, and to bond with important people in your life.
  • Resiliency Intelligence: The ability to bounce back from life’s setbacks and live a full life.
  • Social Intelligence: The ability or desire to know someone’s feelings and how to relate to them.
  • Spiritual Intelligence: The willingness and ability to open up to your Higher Power.
  • Success Intelligence: The ability to clarify what you need and want, then find and use the best resources to achieve your goals and dreams.

As Recovering Intelligence becomes your personal reminder of the kind of life and recovery you want, you’ll use it to build the vehicle that will carry you into your quality recovering lifestyle. Your Recovering Intelligence will give you the ability to create Your Recovering Future.

 

If you found this article helpful, please share!

Summertime Setback Series – Part Three

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder or BED is a food disorder in which a person frequently consumes large amounts of food in short periods and suffers severe guilt when finished. This disorder is exacerbated by anxiety and insecurity and, in turn, causes the vicious cycle to repeat over and over again. An individual who suffers from BED understands that it is cruel, humiliating and can strike at any moment of vulnerability.

During months where routine in predictable – September to June for those who work or are in school – binge eating can be easy enough to hide. Everyday practices are its best cover as we are in more control of our lives during these months. However, BED should not be dismissed during this time, nor should its warning signs be ignored.

During the holiday months, BED becomes much more punitive and often unbearable for those who experience the disorder.

Now that summer is here, for most people that usually means going to the beach with friends, hanging out by the pool, endless summer cookouts, shorts and tank tops, and the anxieties that can arise along with wearing a swimsuit. If you are one of the millions with an eating disorder, this time of year may make it even harder to manage your symptoms. Body image issues often resurface and maintaining a healthy relationship with food becomes more challenging.

Summer is a time to relax and recharge, but it is important to stay committed to your recovery. Here’s why:

  • The increased “free time” that occurs during summer tends to create more “alone time” and eating disorder behaviors thrive in isolation and secrecy.
  • Body image issues may increase during summer months, as we tend to wear less clothing and show more skin.
  • Wearing a bathing suit can be particularly challenging for many.
  • The lack of structure in the summer months can lead to unhealthy routines like skipping meals or altering your normal sleep habits. This can make eating disorder and mental health symptoms worse.
  • Changes in the summer schedule can lead to an increase in physical activity and excessive exercise.
  • Co-occurring mental health issues like depression and substance abuse benefit from treatment and are not likely to go away in summer months.
  • Getting back into activities with “old friends” or even “new friends” can add to the social demand and thus increase overall stress.
  • Eating disorder behaviors may be exacerbated if stress increases due to new activities (taking courses or starting a new job) in summer.
  • Eating disorders are challenging to treat, require specialized treatment and have a high relapse rate. Anorexia nervosa, in particular, has the highest mortality rate of all mental health issues.
  • The longer that you wait to seek help for an eating disorder, the sicker you may become, making future treatment even more challenging.

But if you are struggling, or know that a loved one is struggling, do not delay seeking help any time of year. Call a professional for guidance. The courage you draw upon to choose treatment now will inevitably lead to improved outcomes and improved well-being.

Important information about Binge Eating Disorder

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH),Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most commonly diagnosed eating disorder in the country and is defined by eating large quantities of food ” as much as 5,000-15,000 calories ” in a single sitting, then experiencing feelings of guilt and shame as a result. Binge sessions may occur after a period of stringent caloric restriction or dieting and they are often characterized by feelings of a loss of control.

Those who struggle with binge eating are often overweight or obese and, as a result, are likely to struggle with medical problems such as heart disease, some cancers, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, high levels of “bad” cholesterol, and/or type II diabetes.

  • An estimated two-thirds of people living with binge eating disorder are obese.
  • Binge eating contributes to the development of obesity, which in turn can trigger a host of chronic health disorders, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • Binge eating disorder is the most commonly diagnosed eating disorder, and an estimated 3 percent of Americans are living with the problem. Additionally, about 50 percent of patients with BED are also diagnosed with depression, 24 percent are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and 44 percent self-report struggling with eating habit management.
  • Cortisol released during the stress response and the corresponding storage of fat in the abdominal area are increased issues for those living with BED and obesity as compared to the general public, according to a study published in the journal Appetite. Stress can also be a trigger for binge eating.
  • Binge eating has been linked to increased rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially if the person with BED struggles with feelings of low self-worth and/or feels lacking.
  • People living with binge eating disorder very often also struggle with disrupted sleep patterns, including difficulty falling asleep, waking at night to eat, and struggling to go back to sleep.
  • The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports that people living with binge eating disorder are at higher risk of developing such health problems as headaches, joint and muscle pain, sleep apnea, digestive problems, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain cancers, and fatty liver disease. They also experience difficulty in getting or maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

For BED victims, though it may not feel like it now, it does get better. Here are a few extra tips to help with your recovery, keep you on track and reduce the possibility of relapse.

  • Set regular times for eating, but be careful about it. Do not starve yourself by allocating inconvenient times for a meal. The more control you have over food, the more you will find control in your mind.
  • Look at food in a positive manner. Food is not an enemy but key to your survival. Learn to manage food intake to your benefit and overall health.

Most importantly, accept that some days are better than others. Do not blame yourself if you don’t feel invincible every day. Accept that you had a moment of weakness and continue to strive for a better day and a healthier future.

Good luck and have a Happy Summer!

 

If you found this article helpful, please share!

Summertime Setback Series – Part Two

Summertime Alcohol Relapse

If you’ve spent your previous summers under the influence of alcohol, a sober summer is a formidable task. Fortunately, there are many wonderful relapse prevention strategies and sober things to do that will keep you feeling happy and healthy

Summer is, of course, about sunny beaches, cookouts, and Fourth of July fireworks. Grassy lawns and relaxing gardens are perfect for a cold beer or a refreshing cocktail and you see a lot of people, including friends and family, enjoying their drinks outside. This increase in public drinking means that a recovering alcoholic will be faced with more temptation under the guise of carefree, good times in the sun, making them forget that they have an alcohol problem.

Why do people relapse during the summer?

There are a number of reasons for why newly sober people may be at high risk of relapse during the summer months.

  • Most people are thinking about summer vacation and the summer celebrations such as July Fourth. Those who are recovering from alcoholism may associate vacation time with heavy drinking and find it difficult to imagine have a good time without alcohol.
  • As outdoor events are numerous, there tends to be more drinking outside during the summer months. Tempting as it may be, do not romance the drink as you watch people looking as if they are having a good time because they have a drink in hand.
  • The sunny, warm weather triggers all types of positive emotions, but the risk with this is that the individual may be feeling so positive that they forget that they have an alcohol problem. The person may mistake these positive emotions as a sign that they are now safe to drink again.

Preventing relapse during the summer months

Here are a few suggestions for helping prevent relapse during the summer months.

  • Talk it out. If the thought of relapse worries you, share those worries with others. Discuss these feelings at your next recovery group meeting or attend more meetings as to reinforce determination to stay sober. Call on family and close friends for comfort and reassurance as they will help look out for you. Most importantly, seek help immediately and do not ignore your feelings if they seem to be getting out of control.
  • Nix nostalgia. Avoid romancing the drink as you watch your friends enjoying alcoholic beverages. This is simply false nostalgia – snap back to reality. You know that alcohol is a problem and remember the pain caused by your addiction. If you do not feel very secure in your sobriety, it is best to avoid bars – only go to these places if you have a valid reason for doing so.
  • Explore options. The hot sun is not a reason to drink an alcoholic beverage. It dehydrates your body and is much more harmful on a hot, sunny day. There are many better options to quench your thirst – ice water – iced tea – and to a lesser degree, cold sodas. Bring your own nonalcoholic drinks to barbeques, to the beach, or wherever your friends and family gather over the summer. It is important to drink plenty of water on those days when it is hot outside – carry a bottle with you everywhere. The risk is that if you become thirsty it may trigger intense cravings for alcohol.
  • Move and keep moving.  Become physically active and direct your energy into productive and fun exercise. Not only is it good for the body, it is good for your mental well-being too. Hike – bike ride – train for a half marathon. There are so many things to do outside and they are all better and easier to without alcohol.
  • Be thankful and reflect. Look over your accomplishments in your efforts to stay sober and how far you have come in your recovery. Remind yourself of all the reasons to stay sober. Reflect on those who love you and who are supporting you in recovery.

Staying sober on vacation

Most of us take a vacation during the summer and often travel involves a destination of sun, fun and evening gatherings. Though this break is usually well-deserved, those who have had drinking problems often indulged in partying to excess.  It may be extremely difficult to imagine fun without alcohol. Here are a few suggestions to remain sober during a vacation:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous recommends that members do not make any major changes in the first year sobriety. A vacation could be a major change if not part of an annual routine.
  • Ensure that the people you are vacationing with understand and respect your need to stay sober.
  • Try to have another person in recovery be part of your vacation.
  • Check the availability of some recovery meetings at the location you will be staying.
  • Take along some recovery resources such as books – with the availability of tablet devices, it is much easier to access to e-books, videos and forums.
  • Speak to your therapist about your vacation plans before you leave.
  • Make sure that there are going to be many non-drinking activities available for you on this trip.
  • If you want a specialty beverage, try a non-alcoholic cocktail.
  • Make sure when ordering food in a restaurant that it contains no alcohol. If you are unsure, it is always best to ask.
  • Online options such as Skype are a good way to stay in touch with your recovery friends back at home.

Staying sober at parties

Prior to attending summer gatherings and parties, it is important for a recovering person to make a promise not let the event breakdown a hard-won abstinence.

It is important to note that those who are recovering from substance abuse that did not include alcohol are still advised to abstain from alcohol consumption. Any intoxication qualifies as a relapse. Recovering individuals should bring their own non-alcoholic beverage to a party to avoid going to the bar or drink table. Also, people are less likely to offer a drink to a person who already has a beverage. For this same reason, it is recommended to keep a non-alcoholic drink in one’s hand throughout the party. To avoid any drink confusion after putting down a beverage to dance or use the bathroom, it is always best to get a fresh drink – so it is wise to bring more than one beverage to a party in the event the host runs out of non-alcoholic beverages.

Find support during the summer months

Here are some options for support during the summer months:

  • Your addiction therapist is an excellent source for support and encouragement.
  • Regular attendance at recovery meetings is a good way to get support during the summer months
  • Friends who have been sober for a long time are usually a good source for advice and support.
  • Friends who have never had a problem with addiction can be a very helpful provided they respect your situation related to alcohol.

If you are newly sober, you may worry about how you are going to manage during the summer months, as this may be a time of year where you have traditionally used alcohol heavily. The good news is that so long as you follow the previous steps to protect your sobriety, you may be about to enjoy the best summer ever.

Good luck and Happy Summer!

 

If you found this article helpful, please share!

Thriving Beyond Addiction – Inspirational Recovery Quotes

Get inspired and recover fast with these inspirational recovery quotes.
 

 
When you’re struggling with drug addiction, sobriety can seem like an impossible goal. Let me help you. Thriving Beyond Addiction

If you found this article helpful, please share!