Every season brings unique challenges for recovery. In a typical summer, you’re potentially faced with graduation parties, summer barbeques and weddings. This summer, you may still be dealing with these events along with the stress of navigating differing attitudes around safety during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Or you may be dealing with feelings around these events being canceled. Many people are feeling a sense of isolation during these times, along with fear, confusion, and frustration. All of these feelings are completely understandable, and they can also be triggers for relapse. Let’s take a closer look at ways to cope with this complicated summer.
Make Informed Decisions
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about COVID-19. Look to reliable sources to find information about COVID-19 so you can make informed decisions about what to do and what not to do. The CDC website offers extensive information on travel, symptoms, and how to protect yourself.
For local information, The Seattle Times is offering daily coronavirus updates. Seattle.gov also offers community resources, as does the King County website.
Consider whether you or a loved one you interact with is in a high-risk category when deciding what activities you’re comfortable with.
Put Yourself First
What do you need to stay safe and sober? Family and friends might be ready for in-person gatherings, but are you? If you’re not, whether it’s due to safety concerns or concerns about being around substance use, you have the right to say no. You have the right to protect your health and your sobriety.
Consider what steps you need to take to maintain your sobriety and mental health. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with everything going on right now. Are you taking the time to engage in activities that bring you joy? Or activities that bring you a sense of peace? Engaging or picking up a hobby, meditation, exercise, and naps are all ways to replenish. Taking care of yourself is always important, but it’s especially critical in these times. We’re all feeling extra stress, whether it’s due to financial challenges or concern over the health and well-being of our loved ones.
Plan Ahead for Gatherings
If you do plan to attend any gatherings, it’s essential to plan ahead for safety and sobriety. You may want to get in touch with the hosts and find out how or if they’re planning to handle social distancing and whether guests will be expected to wear masks. Have a mask on hand and hand sanitizer (if you’ve been able to secure some).
You could also ask whether alcohol will be served so you can make an informed decision about whether to attend and how you need to prepare. If people are drinking, keep a non-alcoholic beverage in hand to reduce the chances of people offering you a drink. Keep in mind that as people drink, they may be less mindful about social distancing, so that might be a good time to make an exit.
Have an exit strategy in place before you go. It can be as simple as setting a time to leave and slipping out the door. Or you could let the hosts know that you have an early morning so you’ll be leaving at a specific time.
A support person can also be a big help in difficult situations. If you have a family member or friend who supports your sobriety, let them know your concerns and ask them to support you during the event. They can intervene in awkward situations or remind you to take a break if you seem overwhelmed.
Find Safe Ways to Enjoy Summer
You can still find ways to enjoy the summer, even in these times. Spend time in some of Seattle’s beautiful parks. They’re open, but some have modified hours and parking, so check the Seattle Parks and Recreation website before you go. Invite a friend or family member to go on a socially-distanced walk with you. Or plan a visit to the Woodland Park Zoo. It’s open with timed entry tickets and hand sanitizer stations, but its indoor exhibits are closed due to the coronavirus.
You can also connect with people from home. You can find AA and NA meetings online so you can stay connected with others in recovery.
Associated Behavioral Health Care (ABHC) is offering in-person support as well as telehealth options. Whether you need help with staying sober or if you’re experiencing a relapse, we’re here to help. We have four convenient Seattle area locations and have helped over half a million patients since 1995.
Want to make the most of your summer? We’re here to help. Contact us today.