The summer is an excellent opportunity to strengthen your program of addiction recovery. Especially if you find yourself with extra time on your hands. After all, you wouldn’t want free time to impact your program negatively, idle time being the devil’s plaything—and such. It isn’t a secret that addicts and alcoholics struggle with time management, and using their time beneficially. However, one can use downtime as an occasion to practice budgeting one’s time, to better round out their life.
For most people in recovery, their days often look somewhat similar throughout the year. The usual meeting, going to work, eat, sleep and sometimes a little idle time for relaxation in between. But many of those in recovery have seasonal jobs or go school. So, come summer you may be one of the people who finds themselves struggling to fill their day with healthy behaviors. To be sure, binge watching Netflix shows is not exactly conducive to strengthening your recovery. With that in mind, let’s delve into some practices that can increase your chances of avoiding relapse.
Exercise, Prayer and Meditation In Recovery
With the weather in high spirits, it is always a good idea to get outside and soak up some rays. Take a walk or hike, perhaps other members of your recovery circle will go along. In Florida, there is no shortage of sun or beachfront. You might try making a point of taking advantage of the sand and surf. Interestingly, it is when we are outside that we find ourselves most receptive to our “higher power.” A connection that is of the utmost importance.
While most people get down on their knees in the morning to pray and meditate, there isn’t any reason why you can’t take this beneficial practice outdoors. If you are with other people, take a moment to seclude yourself from the group, so that you can better establish contact with the spiritual realm of your recovery.
Spending an hour, or more, outside everyday can do more for your program than you might think. One way to look at it is like so, most of your substance use occurred indoors. So then, your recovery may flourish better in a setting that is not synonymous with abuse. Over the summer there are meetings you can attend that take place outside, weekly or at recovery retreats. Such gatherings can be a wholly spiritual experience.
Your connection to a higher power is paramount, but it is always worth remembering that your body is the temple that houses spiritual receptors. If your house is in disarray, it can be detrimental to your program. Eating poorly and not exercising can wreak havoc on your program. You may not like going to the gym, but during the summer you can exercise in the great outdoors. Walking, swimming and biking are few ways to better your health.
Getting Help This Summer
If you are still using drugs or alcohol, the aforementioned suggestions may not apply to you—yet. But they probably make some sense to you, either way. Maybe this summer is a good opportunity to break the cycle of addiction and seek help for the debilitating disease of addiction. Please contact us at Synergy Group Services to begin the process. Our holistic approach to addiction recovery has helped numerous individuals get their life back. Maybe this can be your summer of recovery. We can help.
If you are suffering from the disease of addiction, or a have just been introduced to a program of recovery (i.e. 12-Steps or Non-12 Step Recovery), it is likely that the thought of continued sobriety of long periods of time may produce dull and drab images. Addicts and alcoholics, setting the pain aside for the moment, often associate drugging and/or drinking with having a good time. It is probably fair to say that before your life became truly unmanageable, you had a number of wonderful experiences at parties and events. If you are considering addiction recovery it is likely that that ship has long since sailed, and you find yourself in a state of utter despair.
Let’s face it, if the drugs and alcohol could still be balanced between work and responsibility, why would you consider renouncing all mind altering substances? The old saying “the road goes on forever and the party never ends” hardly applies to someone eking out an existence in the grips of addiction. When the party does in fact end for someone with a substance use disorder, it typically means one of two things; either you found recovery or you succumbed to your addiction. Those working in the field of addiction recovery know all too well that for many addicts and alcoholics, the latter is often the case—but we also know that it does not have to be.
In the United States and around the globe, millions of people wake up every day with the goal of not using a drink or drug—no matter what. What’s more, they also insist on thoroughly enjoying life. Recovery is not just sitting around drinking stale coffee in meeting houses with interior walls tinted yellow from years of chain smoking, pining for days of yore. On the contrary, people working programs of recovery resist the urge to pick up, help others do the same and have a good time in the process on a daily basis. It could easily be argued that recovery allows people to not only enjoy all that life has to offer, but remember it too—the gift of a clear mind.
Please do not read these words and think that they imply that recovery is all peaches and cream. Working a program involves a lot of hard work, introspective thinking, selflessness and reprogramming how one thinks. There will be hard times and good times, and everything in between. But those who stay committed typically find that life has so much to offer, and just about anything is possible if one stays the course. It will not happen overnight, but at some point owing to eternal vigilance, you will find that there isn’t anywhere you cannot go or any experience that will seem less sweet because you are not under the influence—especially when it comes to music.
Hearing the Music of Recovery
Looking back on the days of active drug and alcohol use, it is likely that you listened to music. There were probably times when you felt as though you were at “one” with a particular song. Perhaps you had the feeling that the musician wrote a song with someone like you in mind—and to some degree there is probably some to truth to that sensation. Now you find yourself sober. You may find that the music that once spoke to you is no longer communicating—which can be a troubling realization. Music was such an important part of your life and now you feel, to borrow from “American Pie:”
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play
Rest assured, music has not given you the cold shoulder, because you made the choice to live. In fact, you will realize that in sobriety new/different music will have a cathartic effect on you. Music is an invaluable resource that can pick you up when you are down or give you a joyous escape, and it does not require the use of drugs and/or alcohol to appreciate it. It is worth noting that many of the musicians you listened to when you were using, also struggled with addiction and found recovery. Not only are they still writing music and performing, much of what they create speaks to those working a program of recovery. James Taylor, Eric Clapton and Elton John are a just a few examples.
Music can be and often is therapeutic for many who are on the journey of recovery. Similar to other alternative therapies, like massage, art or biofeedback, music can assist people in managing mental health issues, cognitive processes and physical pain or discomfort.
Social media is an integral part of people’s lives, especially young people who are apt to share with the world what they are about to do, or have already done. It is quite common for young adults to share what took place over the weekend, including parties where excessive drinking took place. On the other end of the spectrum, many young people in addiction recovery use social media to connect with other active members of the community. A new study has examined when social media and recovery line up, TODAY reports.
Recovery.org conducted a study which involved Instagram and getting sober. The novel study tracked various recovery related hashtags (#s), examining over 79,000 posts from all 50 states. The researchers found some interesting results.
The top recovery hashtags in order:
The top three states that mentioned recovery the most per capita (1:100,000) on social media:
- Utah 144.4
- California 70.8
- Florida 34.3
While Utah mentioned recovery the most on Instagram, it only has the fifth most meetings of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous per capita in the U.S., according to the article. On the other hand, California had nine times as many people in rehab as Utah. The study cannot account for why people in Utah are more active online about recovery.
“In terms of science, we’re at the very beginning of it,” explained Dr. Warren Bickel, director of the Addiction Recovery Research Center at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and founder of the International Quit and Recover Registry. “One of the amazing things about the field of addiction is that we don’t rigorously study people in recovery…and we can learn a lot from them.”
At Synergy Group Services we offer individualized treatment plans for addiction recovery.