5 Summertime Tips for Long-Term Recovery

summertime tips recovery boat on a lake

Many of the routines established in recovery are relaxed in summer.

Like the line from Coleridge’s poem, water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink, summer feels like alcohol, alcohol everywhere. It seems unfair to those in long-term recovery, but summer vacation and boating equal drinking and partying for many. Additionally, Michigan summer fun is fleeting, so there is a sense of urgency. Many of the routines established in recovery are relaxed in summer, especially if you are on vacation or taking time off from work or other obligations that keep you to a schedule. As Memorial Day and the rest of summer stretches out in front of us, it is prudent to refresh our memories on the trigger-busting tips we learned in 12-step meetings or treatment to safeguard recovery.


At Sanford Behavioral Health, we prepare our clients for recovery challenges while in treatment. We develop individual recovery plans designed to provide support and accountability to each individual in our care. Likewise, our Family Program addresses the warning signs of relapse triggers with loved ones. Of note, the longer a person is in recovery, the easier it is to incorporate activities back into their life.


5 Summertime Tips for Long-Term Recovery

1. Water, water all around!

If you are lucky enough to have a boat or a friend with a boat, being in or on the water is a great recovery tool. Keep your glass filled with water, and put plenty of bottled water in the cooler. Jump in the lake. Soak your head!  A day in the sun will improve appetite, sleep patterns, and mood. But be honest – if you plan a vacation or day trip with people who drink, you may want to cancel or ask them to tee-total with you.


2. Try not to fear vacation – you deserve a change of scene!

When you go on vacation, especially when you are new to recovery, everything seems to be a reminder of the days before recovery.  Airports can be triggers; Jimmy Buffet songs might make you think, DRINK, and unscheduled time feels dangerous. But there is nothing to fear about vacations without alcohol. The trick is thinking ahead and picking the best sober vacations that leave little time for temptation.


6 High Spirited Vacations Without Alcohol

A stunning sunrise over Amelia Island, Florida, is reserved for the early-to-bed, early-to-rise crowd!


3. Stick to routines and community engagements.

Community is so vital to long-term recovery, and summer is the time that routines are relaxed or eschewed.  For example, it might be hard to find an AA meeting on a mountaintop. So be accountable to as many people and activities as you can schedule during the summer. Hike in the woods, learn to rollerblade, or join a birding or book group—the more, the merrier.


4. Avoid big parties, tailgating, or packed clubs.

If you decide to attend the family reunion, and your relatives are big drinkers, arrive and leave early. If the neighborhood block party is a booze-fest, volunteer to cook the hotdogs and stay busy. For any party, have an exit strategy in your back pocket and a sober friend at the ready. If an event feels triggering, say “NO THANKS.” Always bring your own non-alcoholic drink and a fun glass to pour it in!



5. Have a strategy for family – they push every button.

Family members push all your buttons, and summertime is usually when family comes in large doses – visiting from afar, school is out, vacationing away from trusted recovery methods. They are the people you want to impress. They also know you best and think they know what’s best for you.  But this is your recovery. Protect yourself, and so be it if it means limiting family exposure or drama for a period.


Sanford Behavioral Health

Sanford Behavioral Health offers a personalized treatment plan to meet our patient’s unique needs, goals, and preferences. Our team considers the individual’s history, current circumstances, and specific treatment objectives to develop a comprehensive program. Additionally, we work with our clients to get to the root cause of addiction. This allows our clients to manage life’s curveballs with an individualized set of coping tools. At Sanford Behavioral Health, we offer residential, outpatient, or telehealth programs. Our team of licensed and certified professionals includes psychiatrists, medical providers, primary therapists, addiction counselors, and specialty therapists who offer individualized treatment plans to meet your goals for recovery.


If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, eating disorders, or co-occurring mental health conditions, don’t wait to change your life – click the link below to speak with an admissions specialist about our programs.


Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit www.sanfordbehavioralhealth.com.