Spring is here and in full effect, and it is time to take advantage of the good weather and renewed energy in the air to give your recovery a boost. As you pack up the sweaters and open the windows, take a moment to consider what you can do to give your recovery some freshening up as well.
Depending on where you are and your current situation, you can choose to focus on just one part of your recovery (e.g., your relationships, your 12-Step meetings, the treatment you are undertaking for mental wellness, etc.), or you can go big and overhaul the whole thing.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few places to begin.
1. Clean It Up
Spring cleaning is a great way to actively clear your mind while clearing out your house. Getting rid of unwanted items, scrubbing everything down, and airing out each room can give you a nice, relaxing place to return home to each day. Chaos and clutter can lead to stress and taking the time to reduce yours can make it easier to decompress at the end of the day.
At the same time, you can do a metaphorical spring cleaning of your current recovery regimen. Consider your current schedule of 12-Step meetings, your therapy sessions, your alumni group meetings, and your holistic and mindfulness practices – what is working for you and what isn’t? If something is not serving you, consider letting it go. If there are holes or some aspect of your recovery that is not currently being served, there is no time like the present to find a way to address it through therapeutic treatment services.
2. See the Sites
No matter where you live, there are a number of options to take advantage of, like outdoor movies, free days at the museum, classes at the community center, or a trip to the beach, the mountains, local historical sites, aquariums, or libraries with local history. Springtime is about renewal, and you can renew your interest in life and all that it has to offer, reminding yourself of why you got clean and sober in the first place, and learning more about the life and history where you live.
3. Get Outside
There is no time like springtime to take a trip out of town and explore the towns, parks, trails, and other outdoor attractions near your home. Getting bogged down in details at home can put a drain on your ability to stand strong in recovery. Even the little things can feel huge when everything starts to pile up.
Springtime offers the opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful weather and get outside. Whether you have 20 minutes to walk around the block, an hour to explore a trail, or a weekend to get out of town and go camping or otherwise discover some local interests, enjoy the springtime and the opportunity to get outside and clear your head.
4. Prep for the Summer
Spring is the gateway between the coziness of winter and the freedom of summer. Take this time to prepare your recovery for the changes ahead. For example, many groups meet infrequently during the summer, and therapists may take vacations for a month or more, leaving you with a gap in your recovery regimen. On the other hand, there are often special recovery groups and activities planned just for the summertime. Find out what will be canceled and for how long. Then, find out what else will be available in your area and create a schedule for yourself that will ensure that your recovery regimen will not see a gap that could potentially put you at risk of relapse.
5. Make a Change
Have you considered learning tai chi or practicing meditation regularly but have not yet taken the plunge? Do you think you would benefit from working with a life coach or sober coach to create a new and positive path for yourself but have not yet connected with the right person? Are you interested in trying equine-assisted therapy, learning Chinese, finding out more about Mediterranean cooking, or working with a personal trainer? All of these can amplify your recovery, making you feel more well-rounded and confident, and providing you with fulfillment in your life that can help you to avoid relapse.
Is It Time to Return to Treatment?
After a winter of laying low, many find that their defenses are down when it comes to managing triggers for relapse. Whether or not you “fell off the wagon” during the holidays and haven’t quite gotten back on track, or just have been feeling disconnected from your recovery and stagnating in treatment, springtime is the time to assess where you are and make any necessary changes.
For some, this may mean a return to drug rehab even if a relapse has not yet occurred. For those who feel on the brink of relapse and want to avoid it as well as for those who have already “picked up” and are hoping to get refocused on recovery, attending an intensive outpatient treatment program or enrolling in more outpatient treatment services can be a great way to pick up steam and begin to work toward personal goals again as well as recovery goals that will help to sustain long-term recovery.