You’ve successfully gone through the detox process and you’ve completed your alcohol rehab treatment. Congratulations! You’re now on the road to a lasting recovery.
You should be aware, however, that obstacles and temptations will show up along the way on the road. You have to be prepared to face them and equip yourself with tools and strategies that will help you to avoid a relapse.
Summertime and Drinking
Along with the holidays, summer is the season that is most fraught with dangers for the recovering alcoholic. From outdoor barbecues and ball games to summer vacations and camping trips, so many of our summertime activities are linked in one way or another with the consumption of alcohol.
Here are some helpful tips on how to avoid alcohol cravings this summer and reduce your risk of relapse.
Keep Away from Dangerous Situations
By now, you’re probably aware of some of the environments and individuals that were triggers in your drinking. It’s especially important to learn ways to avoid and say no to alcohol early on in your recovery. Steering clear of those people and places that bring back memories of when you drank may be wise in the first weeks and months following your exit from rehab.
You may have the urge to want to prove yourself by seeking out and placing yourself in tempting situations that include surrounding yourself with people who are drinking and revisiting people and places from your past that you have associated with the consumption of alcohol. Doing this early on in your recovery carries great inherent risks. If you avoid such situations, you’ll be making things a lot easier for yourself when you understand the benefits of avoiding alcohol.
It won’t be easy to stay positive all the time, but you should take steps to prevent getting stuck in your own negative thoughts. When you find yourself becoming susceptible to negative thinking, call your therapist or sponsor.
Should you find yourself feeling restless and alone, seek out the company of positive and supportive friends and family members. For many people, just knowing that they have that kind of emotional support standing by is enough to help keep them in a positive frame of mind.
Keep Up with Your Aftercare Program
The return to your normal life without alcohol can be difficult at times. Emotional issues may creep up occasionally and you may find it challenging to face them without the consumption of alcohol. Resuming your relationships with family members and friends after rehab may be difficult and conflicts may arise.
Through regular weekly follow-up appointments with your therapist or group, you can continue to get the assistance and support that will help you with your healing and give you tools that will help you to cope.
Be Patient and Present in the Now
Recovery requires a great deal of patience. Insomnia is common and emotions run high, which can leave you feeling as though there is no end in sight. Nevertheless, be patient and understand that recovery takes time. Eventually, things will get easier. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the rush of emotions you’re feeling. Be kind to yourself and understand that what you are feeling is perfectly normal.
It’s also important to stay vigilant and present in the moment. It’s very difficult to remain focused on maintaining your sobriety if you are simultaneously romanticizing your past. Take stock in what you have achieved so far but avoid the kind of overconfidence that may lead you to rationalize that you can handle a drink or two.
Exercise Your Willpower
Eventually, you will be confronted by a tempting situation and come out of it unscathed. With each temptation resisted, you’ll gain the self-assurance that you will be able to handle the next one. Every time you don’t give in to temptation, you’ll be reinforcing those neural pathways so that subsequent temptations will hold less and less sway over you.
Understand that your reserve of willpower is only limited to the extent that you believe it to be. Your successful use of willpower will give you the evidence you need to realize that your capacity for willpower will never be depleted.
Develop a Healthier Lifestyle
The importance of having healthy habits can’t be underestimated in its ability to help you along with your recovery.
Nutrition and Better Eating Habits
Most people who abuse alcohol tend not to eat very well. They often develop vitamin deficiencies as a result. On the other hand, good nutrition can help to boost energy levels and improve your mood. After rehab, avoid the temptation to return to eating junk food on a regular basis. Instead, consider making a meal plan for yourself on a weekly basis to help ensure you’re always eating right. Be sure that your grocery list always includes lots of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.
Vigorous physical activity is a great way to reduce stress and to boost the endorphins that make you feel good. Regular exercise will also serve to give you more confidence and feel better about yourself. Look for an exercise regime that you will enjoy so that you will not give up on it. It’s often helpful to find a friend to workout exercise with to help keep you motivated.
Get Lots Of Sleep
Sleep is another incredibly crucial component of achieving good health. The restorative benefits of having good sleeping patterns are innumerable. This can be particularly challenging for recovering alcoholics because alcohol abuse can tamper with the brain’s chemistry making it lose the ability to easily fall asleep and achieve a deep restorative slumber.
The brain has the ability to regulate its chemicals during REM and deep sleep. You’ll be able to reap those benefits as you train yourself to have regular sleep patterns.
By following these tips, you’ll go a long way towards knowing how to avoid alcohol and have the tools necessary to prevent a possible relapse.
Our job while you are with us in inpatient rehab is to teach you the life skills and coping tools necessary to live sober in the community—and to enjoy life!