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Summer Sobriety

Summertime in early recovery can be a challenge. The good news is there are many strategies to get through Memorial Day weekend, graduation parties, beach excursions, Fourth of July barbeques, camp-outs and Labor Day. When one is aware of their relapse triggers then they are one step ahead of the game.

A trigger is a person, place, situation and/or thing that can lead to a craving or eventually relapse. Triggers do not force an individual to use alcohol or drugs, but they increase it's likelihood.

Here are some tips to help enjoy a safe and sober summer:

1) Build up a sober support group. A positive network of friends/peers in recovery enhances one's long-term recovery and is useful to lean on when times get tough. Sober friends make it easier because they understand the same struggles, can identify and offer guidance when needed.

2) Volunteer. This is a great way to build self-esteem by giving back to the community. Volunteering also helps to reduce anxiety/stress by focusing outside of one's own personal life.

3) Keep phone numbers close. Make sure you have your sponsor's and sober support network's numbers stored in your cell-phone. One never knows when they will come in handy!

4) Stick to a schedule. Be mindful of your time and stay busy with healthy activities. A schedule looks different for everyone. Keep occupied with meetings, the gym, spending time with friends, gardening, volunteering or taking a walk on the beach. Be aware of when you get restless and make sure a plan is made ahead of time to keep active.

5) Do not rest on your laurels. Recovery is ..."a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition." (Fourth edition, 2001, of the Big Book.

Chapter 6, page 85.)

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