The Dangers of Boredom in Recovery
Summer boredom may be normal for the general population, but it can be exceptionally dangerous for those in recovery from a substance use disorder. People who have experienced active addiction have forgotten how to sit still, and the activities that used to absorb their time may not seem as exciting anymore. Because of this, it can be tempting to return to the familiar – specifically, the extremely high highs provided by drugs and alcohol.
Why is Summer So Challenging?
The first problem with summer is that young adults who are on their summer break from school have lost their daily routine. It’s easy to leave each day open-ended, resulting in long stretches of time without healthy activity or purpose. This can provide ample breeding ground for boredom, which as previously mentioned is a key factor in addiction relapse.
Summer can also be a difficult time for the newly sober because so many outdoor activities hinge on alcohol consumption. Drinking at the lake, on a pool float, or while attending a barbecue is something that many adults don’t think twice about. Coolers of beer are considered a summer staple to most people. While the summer is a great time to reconnect with friends and family, it’s vital to protect your sobriety by instead choosing to participate in events that don’t endanger your recovery.
Sober Summer Activities
Fortunately, there are countless opportunities for sober fun in the sun. As an added benefit, most of these activities will save you money – addiction is remarkably expensive – and you’ll feel better, too.
- Volunteer. This one ranks high on our list because it allows you to use your spare time to help those in need. Choose a charitable organization that you’re passionate about and get to work! You won’t regret it.
- Host a sober barbecue. If you’re worried about attending an event hosted by friends and family who aren’t in recovery, just create your own! Dust off your grilling skills and host an alcohol-free get-together for the people you love most.
- Take a hike. Checking out local parks and trails is a great way to spend the day. Studies even show that surrounding yourself with green space can improve mental health and emotional processing. Be sure to pack some granola and stay hydrated – it gets hot out there!
- Join a sober sports team. Several local leagues will have teams whose members are all in recovery. Meet new friends and stay in shape by spending time playing baseball, softball, basketball, or soccer – whatever your preference!
- Learn a new skill. Summer downtime is the perfect excuse to get creative and learn something new. Is there a hobby you’ve always meant to pick up, but didn’t have time for during active addiction? Now’s the chance to head to the craft store or pick up a used instrument online.
Staying Sober on Vacation
Vacation presents an even more daunting obstacle because people tend to give themselves extra leeway. Additionally, planned structure tends to go out the window for most who leave home. You can avoid these potential traps and stay sober by doing the following:
- Plan, plan, plan. Seek out recovery meetings in the area you’ll be staying in and avoid events that could pose potential temptations. If you know there will be drugs or alcohol at a gathering, just avoid it altogether. If you have a lot of days and do choose to attend, bring along a sober friend who can hold you accountable.
- Spend your time with those you trust. Don’t go on these trips with people who don’t actively support your sobriety, especially those who goad you to use again. “Just one drink” can be devastating to your recovery, and if the people around you can’t understand that, they’re better off staying home. Instead, surround yourself with those who don’t challenge your sobriety.
- Make recovery your absolute priority. More than any event or outing you may miss, recovery should be the most important thing in your life. By staying sober, you can maintain your quality of life and ensure more great days ahead.
- Continue your good habits. If meetings or other activities have helped you to stay sober at home, be sure to continue doing these things while traveling. Look up meetings in the area and set aside your usual time to exercise, meditate, or attend to your sobriety.
Get Your Life Back
When you join the Segue Recovery Support family, you get an advocate dedicated to keeping you engaged and on track. We’ll help you navigate sober summers with confidence. If you or a loved one need additional support in recovery, call 1-866-905-4550 today.