Summer of Recovery

With summer quickly approaching, it’s easy to suddenly find yourself with a calendar full of commitments—which can be a lot of fun engaging with friends, exploring, learning new things and meeting new people. But for those in recovery, your most important commitment is your commitment to recovery. Being busy and having a plan is good but being too busy and feeling overwhelmed are signs that you need to slow down and strike a healthier balance.

Focus on adding new activities that support your healthy lifestyle

Depending on where you are in your recovery, it is important to follow your recovery plan and promote a healthy lifestyle that supports the new you. When you truly engage and enjoy life, the chance of a relapse is less likely. Consider activities such as art or other creative outlets; yoga and Pilates; outdoor activities like walking, biking and swimming; preparing healthy meals  with your farmers market finds; learning a new skill or craft; and giving back by helping others or volunteer work.

Plan ahead, structure your time and set a schedule

Create daily schedules so your life has the structure it needs to succeed. Be sure your schedule allows for activities that support your recovery, such as exercise, time for reflection and a healthy diet. If possible, try to get at least 8 hours of sleep; this will maximize your energy, improve your focus, support your immune system and combat cravings for junk food.

When you plan ahead, you may take advantage of affordable classes offered at community centers, YMCA, park district, even stores like Home Depot and Michael’s–from dance and art classes to DIY tricks of the trade. There are a lot of festivals, art shows, concerts and farmers markets to explore during the summer months as well.

Remember to have a back-up plan in place for risky situations. If you decide it’s okay to go to a concert or wedding with an open bar, bring along a sober friend for extra support or, if possible, drive separately in case you want an option to leave early.

Take time for emotional rest and relaxation

A short break during lunch to breathe in fresh air or a walk around the park—time for reflection, spirituality, meditation, praying and journaling are key tools for you to use to manage stress and re-energize.  Choose what works best for you and dedicate a little “me time” as often as you can.

And if you ever do feel unsafe, Gateway Foundation encourages you to ask for help.

“One of the biggest pitfalls a person in recovery can fall into is not asking for help when it is needed. Contact your counselor, sponsor, even get back in touch with treatment providers to determine the best plan for you moving forward,” says Gateway Foundation Clinical Supervisor Nick Turner. “Asking for help can sometimes make a person feel weak, but it is really is a sign of strength, openness and determination.”

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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