During the school year, students in recovery can find support through collegiate recovery programming. However, once the school year comes to a close, many students feel as though that support system disappears for the summer months. For some, summertime also has the tendency to bring up temptations to be in situations that are not necessarily supportive of recovery. Support should be present for all students in recovery, so here are a few tips to help students feel as supported and confident in their recovery as possible during summer break.
- If you belong to a collegiate recovery program (CRP), check in with them to see if they will be holding meetings and events throughout the summer.
Many CRPs continue to hold at least one weekly meeting throughout the summer for students who are staying in the area. In addition, some CRPs host events and outings in the summer to continue building community among their students. Asking the coordinator or staff at your CRP will give you a better idea of what they have planned in the coming months. If there are not any meetings or outings planned, go ahead and ask to schedule something! Chances are, there are other students in the CRP who would also love to meet over the summer.
- Make a conscious effort to stay in touch with your recovery peers.
Summer jobs (and maybe summer classes!) are great at keeping you busy but don’t forget to make time to reach out to your recovery network. The benefit of being in touch with people who know you and your recovery cannot be overstated. Struggling with work? Send a quick text to a friend. Celebrating an accomplishment? Give a friend a call. The stronger your squad is over the summer, the easier it will be to transition back into school in the fall.
- Build a personal recovery community around you, no matter where you are spending the summer.
Just because you are heading home – or elsewhere – for the summer doesn’t mean that you’ll be without recovery support! If you have a preferred support group, check out their website to see what meetings are held in your area. If there aren’t many meetings nearby, check out In the Rooms, an online recovery community with 100+ meetings per week. In the Rooms offers 12-step and non 12-step groups as well as speaker tapes and daily meditations.
- If you’ll be going to parties and events, make a plan to help you feel confident in your sobriety.
As long as you are comfortable with it, there is nothing wrong with going to parties and barbecues where people are drinking. The key is being prepared for what might come up: being offered a drink or just feeling overwhelmed by what’s going on around you. Of course, saying “no thanks” is more than enough, and we can hope that people will be respectful of that choice. That having been said, if you continue to feel uncomfortable, one of the best things you can do is to take a short walk or even head home. When I have found myself in situations like this in the past, texting a friend in recovery on my way to these events has been more helpful than I could ever have imagined. Even if they are hundreds of miles away, they can show up with a listening ear and a unique kind of support. At the very least, they know where you are headed and can be ready to pick up the phone if you need to call.
These are just a small handful of the many things you can do over the summer months to sustain your recovery. Having been sober for several summers now, I can confidently say that my sober summers have been far more fun than the summers before I entered recovery. Staying connected to others in recovery while taking on jobs, classes, and adventures allow for a full three months of exciting, memorable exploration. What will you do today to plan for your best summer yet?
For more information about academic support for students in recovery, click here or call 1-888-PURPOSE.