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5 Summer Projects to Boost Your Recovery

Too often, the summer months are a time when people tend to pull away from recovery, with many relapsing as a result. Why? Meetings are often canceled, therapists go on vacation, and the urge to get outside and attend events where alcohol and other drugs abound can be strong.

In order to fight off the increased temptations due to outdoor concerts, BBQs, baseball games, and family reunions, it can help to make a plan to bolster your recovery during the summer months and focus on projects that will keep you sober.

  1. Start an outdoor therapy.There are a number of therapies that take place outside, giving you an opportunity to enjoy the summer weather without surrounding yourself with people who are drinking and getting high. Look for a sports therapy group that gives you a chance to play your favorite outdoor sports with other people or an outdoor and adventure therapy that offers the opportunity to push your own personal boundaries and boost your self-confidence.If you do not find a therapy that is of interest to you or one that works with your schedule, talk to your therapist about taking your sessions outdoors. It can be very healing to get outside, walk as you talk, and provide yourself with gentle exercise as well as some outdoor time at the same time.
  1. Take on a positive summer job.There are a number of seasonal employment opportunities in the summer, many of them outside. Think construction companies, house painting companies, landscaping companies, entertainment venues, amusement parks, outdoor markets, and more. If you live in a touristy area, you may find employment waiting tables, being a lifeguard or instructor at a resort, or working at retail spots that cater to visitors. On the other hand, you may find that there are overtime opportunities at your current place of employment due to so many people taking vacation.Whatever you choose to do, make sure that the extra hours or new job does not:
    • Interfere with your ability to continue going to therapy and attending 12-Step or other support group meetings
    • Cause undue stress that can trigger relapse
    • Expose you to alcohol or drugs, whether in the course of doing the job or due to the activities of coworkers
    • Cause you to justify drinking or getting high due to the extra money in hand
  1. Increase your education.With tons of summer classes to choose from, you can either dive in to a certificate program that starts during the summer months, or opt to take a class or two to move you a little closer toward earning a degree that you are working on. Or if you prefer, take a class just because it’s interesting to you – a language course, an art course, a philosophy course – just to see if you like it. Why not? It will keep you busy, open your mind to new things, and potentially connect you with new friends.
  1. Plan a sober vacation.
    The world is your oyster now that you are sober. You are no longer broke because you are spending all your money at the bar or tethered to your neighborhood so you can maintain a steady supply of the drugs you need from your connection. You can travel without worry about getting busted for drug use, purchase, or possession of paraphernalia, and that means that if your summer has an open schedule, you can take advantage of the time to go exploring.To ensure that you have a safe and sober time, it is recommended that you:

    • Choose sober companions to go with you. Coordinate a group of close friends who support your sobriety or who are from your sober community and plan the trip together.
    • Find a company that offers sober vacation tours for support. Whether you are headed to a music festival where you know there will be drugs and alcohol or out on a camping trip, you can often find a sober touring company to assist you.
    • Plan everything in advance as much as possible to mitigate stress and help things go smoothly. You don’t want to get caught without somewhere to stay in a foreign country where you know no one and don’t speak the language.
    • Fully research where you are headed to make sure you are going somewhere that is safe and relatively easy to maintain your sobriety. For example, heading to wine country is probably not the best choice in recovery.
    • Save up enough money in advance so you will not be caught without the cash you need to make positive choices (e.g., being able to leave any situation that turns out to be a threat to your sobriety).
  1. Commit to work with a life coach.
    If you are not sure what project you would like to take on this summer, if you feel like you are stagnating in your recovery, or if you would just like to have someone assist you in coming up with a plan to move forward in your life, a life coach can help. Each one is different, with different experiences and educational backgrounds, and each one will offer different support services, so make sure to:

    • Interview any life coach you are considering.
    • Interview multiple life coaches.
    • Be clear about what you would like or need to be fully supported.
    • Do not accept someone if it doesn’t feel right, they cannot provide you with what you are looking for, or they do not fully support your commitment to sobriety above all else.

How will you stay sober this summer?

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About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Sunrise House is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More