Seasonal changes are not just about seasonal affective disorders. It is also about understanding how changes of the season impact mood, behavior, and thought patterns. When people are in recovery and are sober, they may be thinking about how they can get through the day without drinking or using drugs. Seasonal shifts in weather and climate, for those who live in areas with shifts, it can be difficult to feel happy and healthy through these transitions.
Harsh winter weather has many consequences for people who are sober from drinking and using drugs. Living whether weather is not as nice for many months of the year, or even is just more inclimate for some months of the year, makes people feel more confined and less comfortable. They may be more apt to travel less, go out less, see people less frequently, and become more isolated. Poor weather drives anxiety, depression, and mental health issues for some people, so it is difficult to deal with and requires a great deal of support.
Depending on where people live, spring may be rainier or just more cloudy. It can lead to people feeling more hopeless and down because the wetter weather makes it harder to be outside. Increased rainfall may dampen a person’s spirits, as well as increase allergies. For some people who get headaches or don’t feel good during allergy season, this may lead to them feeling under attack in their bodies and crave something to stop the yucky feelings. This can be anything from drinking to using drugs or turning to food as an alternative, sometimes leading to crossover addiction.
During the spring is a huge trigger for people: party season. Spring break hits and young people start going out to places looking to have fun. This can be triggering for people dealing with recovery. Whether or not a person is in school, around these environments, or has children who travel for spring break, there may be pressure to drink or use drugs. For those who take spring break trips, it is helpful to go substance-free to have more fun.
Watching a person’s body and spiritual health, along with psychological symptoms, can help prevent relapse. Summers are associated with fun in the sun, vacations, and exciting times. However, heat exhaustion, humid weather, and disrupted routines can wreak havoc on people’s lives. The heat and humidity are significant sources of stress and exhaustion. They can weaken a person’s defenses and cause them to feel like failures. The fall weather season brings shorter days, less light, darker during the daytime, and new responsibilities, depending on the person’s calendar. The holidays begin approaching and things ramp up into gear with parties going full swing and everyone getting nervous about seeing family.
The key is to be aware of triggers. Whether it is allergies or family, socializing at parties, or other things, there will always be something to be mindful of when thinking about addiction recovery. It is best not to let the change of season take a person by surprise. Prepare, be aware, and don’t be afraid to seek hope for a new tomorrow in recovery. One day at a time, step by step will help a person move forward and heal.
Learning how to navigate life’s ups and downs is crucial to feeling successful in recovery. A Step in the Right Direction helps you find hope in our rehab program. Our recovery program is staffed by people who understand the power of addiction. For more information about sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.