How Seasonal Affect Disorder Can Influence Your Recovery

Seasonal affect disorder and recovery
It’s not just your imagination…the change of seasons, in particular, the lack of natural sunlight we get in the fall and winter, can affect your mood and mental health. With it, your recovery can be affected as well. This is known as seasonal affect disorder (SAD).

Addiction Recovery in Winter

During the winter months, it’s challenging for many people to be active. The combination of colder temperatures and snowy or icy driving conditions makes it tempting for many people to limit their time spent outdoors.
As a result, it’s difficult for anyone, much less someone in recovery, to stick to their social commitments. Many people would rather socialize during more temperate times of the year, when weather is less of a factor. Winter can become a time when people have more time on their hands, and, as mentioned above, boredom sets in.
For someone in recovery, boredom can lead to reminiscing about past substance abuse, as well as cravings for drugs and alcohol. This doesn’t mean that your schedule needs to be jam-packed full of activities, but big blocks of time with no plans at all should be avoided.

Addiction Recovery in Spring

Spring is a time when seeds are planted and the trees come back to life after their long winter sleep. There is an urge to clean up our homes and yards to make way for something fresh and new.
Someone with a substance use disorder may make a change in her life at this point and seek drug or alcohol addiction treatment. Those in recovery may look forward to longer days and more sunlight as they continue to take their journey one day at a time.
As the springlike weather continues, there will be more people moving around in public. Restaurants and bars will start to set up tables outside for their customers. Each person in recovery will need to evaluate, as they are enjoying the warmer temperatures, whether they need to alter their route to avoid certain areas where sights, sounds, or smells might trigger the urge to drink or use drugs.
Having to avoid something due to a trigger is not a sign of weakness. It’s a fact for that person. It’s not a point that can be argued or that she can ignore temptation “just this once.” Family members and friends who respect her recovery need to understand this.

Addiction Recovery in Summer

Summertime is the traditional time of year for spending extra time with family and friends over long weekends and annual vacations. The good news is that there is no shortage of activities during the summer for people in recovery. Any type of activity that would be appropriate for families would work, since alcohol would probably not be served and anyone under the influence of drugs wouldn’t be welcome.
Parties and barbecues are more challenging to navigate for someone in recovery. These are traditionally events where alcohol is served. Often, binge drinking may occur.  It may not be possible to avoid these types of events entirely, which means that a person in recovery should plan how he will respond when someone offers him an alcoholic drink. One effective strategy is to bring a cooler with soft drinks, water, or juice to the party.

Addiction Recovery in Fall

As summer turns to fall and the temperatures start to drop, there are new beginnings for students as they take on the challenge of a new school year. Some people like to “turn over a new leaf” at this time of year, since fall represents getting back to regular responsibilities.
This season takes us from warm afternoons to the first snowfall. It is a time of year when people bundle up as the weather gets cooler. As friends and family are getting ready to start cocooning for the winter, does it make sense for someone battling substance abuse to want to start getting rid of their personal layers of protection and go to treatment?
It does if they want to get well. There is no “best” time of year to seek help from English Mountain Recovery for drug or alcohol abuse. If you are looking for information for yourself or a loved one who has an addiction problem, contact us today.
By Jodee Redmond