Now that warmer days are here, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, picnics, barbeques, and other celebrations. Often, such scenarios involve enjoying alcoholic beverages or experimenting with drugs. For a college student with an addiction, however, the much-awaited summertime may prove to be rife with challenges, obstacles and triggers which is why summer addiction treatment may be the answer to recovery.
Hence, this summer might be an excellent opportunity for you to reassess your relationship with alcohol and other substances of abuse. Do certain events, emotions, being around certain people or a particular time of the day trigger your cravings?
How much is too much to handle while you’re in recovery? Should you take a break or monitor your intake?
Alcohol abuse remains one of the major problems as this substance is legal and easily accessible. College students are much more likely to participate in heavy drinking behaviors than their non-college peers.
78.9 percent of college students have reported alcohol use. It is believed that more than 1800 students die every year due to alcohol-related causes.
Slow down this summer
While it’s the time of sunshine, frolic, sand, and water, a college student with an addiction may be full of fear and anxiety.
In the absence of highly-structured college routines and limited surveillance, factors such as peer pressure can make the student even more vulnerable.
Developing an effective sober summer strategy can help you manage triggers and fortify your sobriety. The best way to manage triggers is to avoid them altogether.
Since summertime can possibly worsen addiction symptoms and bring with it more challenges than usual, it might be the ideal time to take a step back and focus on recovery instead. This holds particularly true for individuals who are new in recovery or are recovering from a relapse.
Challenging situations such as concerts, festival, family gatherings, local celebrations, and pool parties usually all involve an open bar or heavy alcohol consumption. Even if you do attend a gathering where drinks are being served, prepare for various potential party scenarios.
Plan your arrival and departure, who you will spend time with and who you won’t be comfortable with. You may bring your own non-alcoholic drinks and have an exit plan ready in case you start to feel anxious.
It may be even better to consult your sponsor, therapist or a supportive friend and walk through the plan.
Summer addiction treatment – Better timing for students
Summer treatment of addiction may make sense for students and young adults. Since most students are on break from school and/or go home, the timing of treatment may prove to be more convenient.
Substance abuse treatment during the summer may allow the college student to focus their undivided attention upon their treatment and recovery. It will enable them to work at a leisurely pace to explore their issues deeper without the stress of juggling classes and busy schedules.
Since summertime typically does present more triggers than usual, summer addiction treatment can help you face these triggers. You can benefit from being part of a support group, intensive out patient or even residential addiction treatment program.
Young individuals with addiction can prepare themselves for triggers and challenges, and formulate a strategic plan for upcoming summer activities and festivities.
Enjoy a sober summer
An addiction does not necessarily mean that you cannot be part of all the fun activities.
Whether you are new to recovery or firmly in long-term sobriety, explore summer experiences and activities that allow you to engage in the best that summer has to offer.
It can improve your overall health and wellness. Many 12 step programs provide an abundance of summer events and activities.
At the same time, you can yourself host a sober summer cookout and create some new summer traditions for yourself and loved ones. You also need to be prepared for questions and suggestions that may come your way as you re-engage with some groups or are introduced to new ones.
Be mindful of your weaknesses and remove yourself from conversations that may hinder your recovery.
Summer can also be an opportunity to explore local community colleges, vocational schools, or summer school to learn a new skill or expand your horizons.
Remember that recovery can actually widen your horizons to enhance your summer experience. It can empower you to have some sober summer fun while you still prioritize your summer addiction treatment and well-being.
About the Author:
Sana Ahmed is a journalist and social media savvy content writer with extensive research, print, and on-air interview skills. She has previously worked as a staff writer for a renowned rehabilitation institute, a content writer for a marketing agency, an editor for a business magazine and been an on-air news broadcaster.
Sana graduated with a Bachelors in Economics and Management from the London School of Economics and began a career of research and writing right after. Her recent work has largely been focused upon mental health and addiction recovery.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from multiple physical, emotional, environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Reviewed and Approved by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 14, 2019
Published August 14, 2019, on AddictionHope.com