Summertime, But is the Living Easy?

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Isn’t summer wonderful?

Long, warm, light-filled days meant for relaxing and recharging after a dark, cold winter. There’s little more delightful than a summer day spent on a beach or by a pool, with nothing more on your mind than what you might want to eat for dinner. Rules don’t seem to matter much. It’s summertime, and the living is easy.

Unless you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse.

Addiction doesn’t take a vacation. There is no relaxing or recharging. And what’s always on an addict’s mind is the next fix. Where’s it coming from? How can I get the money? I need it now. I want it now. Nothing else matters.

There is nothing easy about living in summertime as an addict.

I can’t imagine living that way, but I witnessed it in my son, during his active addiction. He was obsessed, possessed by drugs, and there were many summers when all I could see in his eyes was the wild search for his next fix. He never felt joy; he felt desperation.

I did, too, knowing that everything that once made him happy meant nothing. What could I have done to help him? To bring back the boy who loved to surf, walk the “boards,” and live life on the beach?

Not much. You can’t make an addict get sober. It wasn’t until David was ready—completely ready—to commit to his own health and well-being, that he could begin the journey to sobriety.

So, I couldn’t have helped him, not really. But I could have helped myself, and I did. As much and as often as I could, I went to the beach—my happy place. I sat on the sand and stared at the ocean, which always seems to put my problems in perspective. I slept, I daydreamed of happier times, and I prayed.

During this summer (and it’s not as carefree as other summers, but still…), find your happy place. Go there often, even if it’s just a corner in your home. Dream, rest, and pray. Try and find your peace and recharge.

Substance abuse is a war being fought by the addict as well as loved ones trying to offer support. No one wins a war exhausted and depleted. Between battles, rest, enjoy the blessings of summer. Recharge and get ready for the next battle. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself to stand a chance at winning the war.

Mary Fran Bontempo is a 2x TEDx speaker, author and humorist. Visit her at Her latest book, “The 15 Minute Master—How to Make Everything Better 15 Minutes at a Time,” can be found on Amazon.