For many people who are in recovery, the thought of the upcoming long weekend might well trigger anxiety. Thoughts may arise, fears and anxieties about socializing without partaking in what may well have been a long-standing part of this weekend’s celebrations.
We have collected some tips that can be useful to you as you make your way through this weekend, or really any social situation which you may have previously associated with partying, using, or drinking. Above all no matter what happens this weekend remember how hard you have worked to get to this place, reach out to others who are on the path you are on, attend a meeting, take a deep breath and look at this weekend in a new light.
This is NOT a time that you are being deprived of fun this is the universe giving you an opportunity to show the world your strength, and commitment, and shine on as the bright star you were always meant to be.
- Make sure you take care of yourself this weekend and get plenty of sleep, a well-rested mind can help you avoid making bad decisions.
- Have a plan, if you are going to attend a party where you know there will be drinking, bring along your own non-alcoholic beverages.
- It is also a great idea to bring along a sober friend, or make a pact with another person in recovery to be their sober stand-by for the weekend. Commit to being there for each other to take that call and help each other stay clean.
- Treat yourself, maybe use this time to do a “spa day”. Whether it is at an actual spa or at home, remember, self-care is never selfish!
- Staying home? No problem use this time to read, catch up on chores, or just grab some sun and relax, stress can be a trigger for a lot of people so reduce yours.
- Going out? Appoint yourself as the designated driver for friends or relatives who want to have a drink or three.
- Have a picnic! At home, at the cottage, or in the park, you may well discover that you enjoy creating a delicious meal more now than ever before. After all culinary creativity shines when you have a clear mind.
- Don’t miss out on fancy-looking drinks. Just because your drinks are alcohol-free does not mean they have to be fun-free. Check out these delicious recipes for “mock-tails” from food52.com
- Check in with family members who may be alone this weekend, think grandparents or relatives with limited mobility.
- Check in with your new friends who are, just like you, in recovery and might also be facing this weekend with some apprehension. Better yet if you are physically close, make plans with your sober friends to hit the beach, a park, or grab brunch. Or if you are all scattered about then meet up on Zoom and help each other through this time.
- Try your hand at painting, drawing, or a craft you have always suspected you have a secret talent for, now is a great time to explore new things.
- Exercise, if you are the sort of person who loves to exercise this is a great time to leverage that enjoyment to focus your mind. If you always wanted to start an exercise practice then this might be the perfect time to “jump in”.
- Enjoy mindfulness practices, meditation and yoga not only help you to focus they have been proven to reduce stress, the slow measured breathing techniques practiced in both have wonderful cognitive and heart health benefits.
- Get outside! Bathe in the beauty and calm of the forest. Sometimes something as simple as just letting the sounds of nature wash over you can be a wonderful grounding experience.
- Spend your time with people who support your journey, if your friends and family are not ready to support your decision to become and stay sober then this might not be the best time to immerse yourself in their company. You do what you need to do feel strong and safe in your decisions and be true to your path. Those who really care about you will support your decisions no matter what, some might even choose to have a sober weekend alongside you 🙂
- Ride your bike. If you are a cyclist take advantage of the wonderful summer weather to get on your bike and hit some trails. Remember to stay hydrated and bring along enough snacks to keep your energy levels up.
- Start a gratitude journal, every day is a gift, and those who have come through addiction to the recovery side know this to be true, perhaps more than anyone. Writing down the things you are grateful for, your plans for the future, or even just the things you are thinking about right now can be a great tool for managing your thoughts.
- Learn something new. The internet has so many free learning tools available, check out www.coursea.org, they have a wonderful collection of free courses and credit-earning ones as well. Learning is a superb tool for keeping yourself occupied and your mind alert. And you can even enhance your career by earning that degree you always meant to get.
- Volunteer. When we step outside of our needs and consider the needs of others we feel good. The same dopamine release that we might get from using, can be had by just doing things that make us feel good about ourselves.
- Most importantly pay attention to how YOU feel. If you start to feel anxiety or unease throughout the day, take a moment to relax and take some slow deep breaths until the anxiety clears.
We hope those tips are useful, stay strong, stay sober, and most importantly.