Millions of people travel for spring break each year. The week-long escape from work and school has become tradition for many, and understandably so. Everyone needs a break from time to time, and spring break is the perfect opportunity to get away. Winter is behind us, the temperatures are rising and the days are getting longer. However, as the number of spring breakers rise, so do the number of alcohol-related injuries and arrests.
Studies show that drinking alcohol is taken to the extreme on spring break. A study from the NIAAA found that men drank an average of 18 drinks a day on spring break, while women had 10 a day. Binge drinking is one of the most concerning activities that young adults engage in during spring break. Fifty percent of men and 40 percent of women drank until they passed out.
Drinking excessively puts people at a higher risk for injury, sexual assault, health problems, drunk driving, police involvement and death. It’s no way to spend a spring break. If you are a newly recovering addict or alcoholic, you may be unsure of what this spring break will hold for you. But, this may be one of the most wonderful spring breaks you’ve had in a long time.
Below we share some tips for celebrating a safe and sober spring break.
Have Realistic Expectations
Having realistic expectations in early alcohol recovery in Pasadena avoids frustration and disappointment. Just as you should have reasonable expectations for your recovery, you should do the same for your spring break. It’s important that your expectations are balanced.
For example, if your expectations are too high, you might judge yourself too harshly. You might think that you should be excited about spring break, when in reality, you are feeling confused. On the other hand, if you hold your expectations too low, you may not do the right things to keep yourself on track with your recovery.
Before going into spring break, adjust your expectations so that you can stay on track with your goals and ask for help if you need it.
Follow Your Aftercare Plan
Your aftercare plan is a part of your alcohol treatment in Pasadena. It was designed for you based on your needs and recovery goals. Continue following your aftercare plan over spring break. In fact, now may be a good time to review it and make sure that you are following everything that is recommended. Are you going to enough 12-step meetings? Are you seeing your therapist regularly? Have you been maintaining a healthy schedule?
Also included in your aftercare plan is self-care. Be sure that you are taking care of yourself by getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, exercising each day and spending time with supportive friends and family. By following your continuing care plan, you can keep yourself mentally and physically strong.
Go to Extra 12-step Meetings
If you’re feeling vulnerable, you may want to attend more 12-step meetings. You can attend as many meetings as you feel you need to stay on track with your recovery goals.
By attending meetings, you remind yourself that you are not alone. Many other recovering addicts are working on their recoveries over spring break and probably facing similar emotions as you. If you feel at risk for using drugs or alcohol, reach out to your sponsor. Your 12-step groups are your support, especially during stressful and confusing times like spring break.
Plan a Sober Getaway
Just because you are in recovery doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy spring break. Drinking is common at many spring break destinations, but there are also many, many people who aren’t spending their vacation drinking. When you refrain from alcohol, you don’t have to worry about losing control, feeling ill or hungover and not remembering what you did the night before. You can enjoy your vacation to the fullest and keep the memories close to your heart.
If you’re ready to take a new step in your recovery, plan a sober vacation over spring break. Invite supportive friends and family along, or consider inviting someone from your 12-step group. Here are some ideas for sober getaways:
- Sober vacations. If you want your trip planned for you, check out the many sober vacations that are available. Sober travel companies plan booze-free spring break trips, such as sober cruises, sober tours and spiritual retreats. Simply buy your ticket and enjoy what’s planned for you.
- Nature-based activities. Spending time in nature is an effective way to boost your spirituality and learn more about your inner self. Use spring break to plan a backpacking trip, camping adventure or hiking excursion. These trips aren’t just good for your soul, they’re also an affordable way to see the world.
- 12-step retreats. Instead of a sober vacation, check out the sober retreats that are available. They are similar to vacations because you get to travel someplace new, but the activities are more focused on working through the 12 steps in a positive, uplifting environment.
- Creative classes. Consider taking a creative class over spring break and nurturing some of your best talents. Do you love to cook? Play a musical instrument? Work with animals? Check your local park district or library for info on workshops and classes over spring break.
Change Your Perspective
One of the hardest parts about the holidays is feeling like everyone else is out having fun. You might have friends and family who are traveling, going to parties and hanging out over their spring breaks while you have to stay home and work on your recovery. Unfortunately, this type of mindset will leave you feeling resentful and bitter, which isn’t helpful for your alcohol recovery in Pasadena.
It’s important to change your perspective on a few things. First, “everyone” is not out drinking and partying over spring break. Some people are, but many others are not. They may be at home with their families, enjoying a camping trip or pursuing one of their favorite hobbies.
Second, “fun” does not have to include getting drunk or high. It may be what’s familiar to you, but there are plenty of other ways to enjoy life. By warming yourself up to alternative ideas, you can find things that make you happy and bring out the jovial side of yourself.
Donate Your Time
You can’t change your perspective overnight, but one of the best ways to alter it is by donating your time. When you work with others, you see that there are people who have it worse off. Some don’t have a roof over their heads, money for food or enough skills to get a job. If you have these things, you have something to be grateful for.
If you don’t feel comfortable working in homeless shelters or soup kitchens, consider another way to help society, such as by cleaning up the environment, working with animals or building homes for low-income families. There are many ways to give back to the world and find your greater purpose in life.
Volunteering also passes the time over spring break. If you’re busy getting your hands dirty, you won’t have time to check social media and see photos of “everyone” partying. Plus, when break is over and everyone returns to their normal routines, you’ll have something to continue focusing on.
Do you what else spring break is a good time for? Working on your recovery! To learn more about the outpatient rehab Pasadena programs that we have available through Pax House Recovery, contact us today.