Here in Maine, this time of year brings the overwhelming desire to be somewhere, anywhere, warmer than here. Regardless of what the climate is like where you live, though, the majority of people might agree that mid-winter tends to go hand-in-hand with the hope for a tropical spring break. Just as this season so seamlessly fits with spring break, so does the idea of excessive drinking and using. Thus, when I came into recovery, the idea of being able to enjoy any type of spring break seemed backward. But what will I DO? I was soon shown that there are many alternatives to “enjoying” spring break. Here are just a few of them:
1. Alternative Spring Break
If your school offers ASB, I highly recommend checking it out. ASB is organized by hundreds of individual college campuses all over the country. The idea is to get together with a number of classmates for a week of substance-free service work in another state. Most schools are able to subsidize the cost of the trip so that each student only pays a small fee (at USM, my alma mater, the student fee was $25 – TOTAL!). Think about the emotional, community-building reward that would come with making lifelong memories, all while offering your time and heart to a community in need.
2. Get Outdoors
No matter where you live, there is – believe it or not – a whole world outside of our classrooms and offices. Spend your vacation soaking up the surrounding beauty! Even a one-day trip tends to be plenty of time to find a little hiking or biking trail, or some body of water. What better place to get your meditation game on and hit that reset button than in wonderful nature? Except for the gas that it takes to drive there – depending on where you’re located, you could also walk or bike! – it shouldn’t be too tough to check this one off for free! Score.
3. Discover a New Hobby
Don’t you have a list lying around of new things you’d like to try? Maybe these are things you used to love to do but rarely have time for anymore. Here’s your chance! I recently picked up my knitting needles after a couple-year-long hiatus. Do I feel like a grandmother? Absolutely. Is it awesome? Definitely. For me, the two best aspects of knitting are that it is meditative (unless I start dropping stitches, in which case I have to remind myself out loud to stay calm), and there can be a finished product! Maybe your newfound interest lies in fixing cars, trying new recipes, or writing. Whatever it may be, your one-week-from-now-self might be pretty proud of what you’ve been able to accomplish!
4.. Self-Care Marathon
This might be my favorite (and, for me, it absolutely overlaps with #3). Take that bubble bath that’s been on your want-to-do list. Go for a walk or run to get some nice fresh air in those lungs; classrooms can get pretty stale after a while. Roll on a tennis ball. Bear with me – I know that last one sounds strange, but it has become one of my favorite ways to stretch. If your shoulders are cramping up from too much note-taking time, a couple of minutes on one of those bright-yellow-green buggers will start to do the trick! Your upcoming vacation is the perfect time to take a minute (or sixty) for yourself.
5. Clean Break
If you’re still up for the idea of heading to the classic Spring Break destination that is Miami, you’ve got recovery-centered options! A number of programs, one being Clean Break, organizes a substance-free, sun- and beach-filled vacation. I have heard from friends who went last year that it was an absolute blast. Think about it: all of the amazing parts of a classic spring break: Florida ocean (more like giant bathtub), plenty of Vitamin D, beach volleyball and, if you want, you can go dancing all night long. What you’re not going to find is: 1. The hangover from the underworld that makes you want to stay in bed for years; and 2. A negative balance in your bank account after spending way too much on overpriced drinks. Sounds like a win-win.
Whether you’re in the mood to stay local or to finally make that tropical spring break a reality, enjoy yourself! The options are out there. Recovery is about going where we’ve always wanted to go, and feeling like the rock stars that we are while doing it. Happy Spring Breaking, everyone!
Life of Purpose Treatment
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Boca Raton, FL 33431