Relapse in July 2023

The Real Reason Relapse Rates Spike in July

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Are you planning a sunny California vacation but worried about staying sober during the summer months? This is a valid concern as past research suggests relapse rates may in fact be higher in summer. We’re here to help by exposing the real reason causing increased relapse rates and, most importantly, provide you with helpful tips to avoid triggers and enjoy a fun sober summer, California style! 

How Does Weather Effect Recovery? 

Environmental factors: 

  • More social activities and gatherings  
  • Exposure to triggers (e.g., alcohol at parties, drug use at festivals)  
  • Vacation or travel-related stressors 

Emotional factors:  

  • Summer Nostalgia and Associations with substance use 
  • Peer pressure and the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)  
  • Elevated stress levels due to family dynamics or changes in routine 

Soaking Up The Sun 

California is known for its exciting social activities and gatherings, especially during the summer. From beach parties to outdoor festivals, these events may expose you to triggers like alcohol or drugs. Being aware of these triggers and establishing a plan ahead of time is crucial for maintaining your sobriety this summer.  

How Can I Avoid Relapse This Summer?  

  • Maintain a strong support system: Your travel plans may conflict with your support group meeting. Instead of skipping the group, check if you can join remotely through Zoom. We offer numerous FREE support groups that can be attended virtually.
    You may also want to give a heads-up to your sponsor that you’ll be out of town and plan a day to meet up as soon as you’re back. Ask if they’d be willing to text or call to check in.
  • Develop a relapse prevention plan: Having a plan greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll stick to that plan. Start with: 
    • Identifying potential triggers and strategies to avoid them 
    • Practice mindfulness and stress reduction techniques  
    • Create a routine around healthy activities and hobbies
  • Plan sober social engagements: Be the sober bestie everyone needs this summer by hosting alcohol-free events or parties. Many venues in California offer alcohol-free options that can be loads of fun and a great way to avoid triggers. Surround yourself with supportive and sober-minded friends and family and communicate openly with them to ensure your success. Before jetting off to your California vacation, do some research on alcohol-free events and parties. You’ll be surprised to find a vibrant sober community, ready to have a blast with you. Check out local activities, join sober social media groups, and connect with like-minded adventurers.
  • Focus on self-care: While the summer months can bring on a major change to your routine, it’s very important that you maintain a regular sleep schedule. Finding time to exercise and enjoy outdoor activities can help you maintain your sobriety during summer. Be sure to practice healthy eating habits and stay hydrated as the temperatures rise.
  • Stay connected to treatment resources:  Even though your schedule may shift during summer, it is important that you continue therapy or counseling sessions. Consider outpatient or intensive outpatient programs that offer more flexibility during summer.  
  • Plan for travel or vacation that matches your needs in recovery: Research sober-friendly destinations, hotels, and venues. Pack a self-care kit with stress-relief items and coping tools. You can also prepare by informing your travel companions or family members about your recovery needs 

Maintaining your sobriety during the summer can be a challenging journey, and various factors can influence the risk of relapse. If you or a loved one are struggling, Akua is here to help. With locations throughout California and dual-diagnosis treatment pathways, we in recovery can mitigate the risk of relapse during the summer months and maintain their journey towards long-term sobriety. 


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