4 Tips for Staying Sober This Summer
While the colder, darker months usually present a greater challenge to sobriety, summertime means outdoor parties, holidays, shore weekends and nights on the patio. And those things usually have one thing in common: alcohol.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the easy summer socializing and outdoor activities that characterize this time of year. It also doesn’t mean you have to have a slip. Here are a few ways to enrich your recovery while ensuring a sober summer.
- Get Creative With Your Social Plans — While you can always sit in a bar with club soda instead of a drink, there are more exciting ways to embrace summer while keeping your commitment to sobriety. In our drinking days, we were too consumed with getting drunk to notice that our communities generally have a full lineup of summer activities designed to help people get the most out of the season. Check out an outdoor movie or concert, attend a festival, spend a Saturday morning at a local farmer’s market, plan a hiking or camping trip or visit an amusement park. Go beyond the bar to experience the best summer has to offer.
- Get Active — When we take something out of life, such as alcohol, there’s a void. We can fill this void with activities that support our recovery, as well as activities that support and help restore our physical health. Summer can be a great time to take up a fitness challenge. Get some friends together and sign up for a 5K or a triathlon, take up a new sport or outdoor hobby or join an athletic social club. Set goals and build in some healthy rewards.
- Celebrate Sobriety — We were accustomed to using national summer holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day to overindulge and make the most of a long weekend. Now that we’re sober, we don’t have to avoid these days; in fact, our clearer state of mind provides the opportunity to celebrate these days with new reverence and focus. Make the days personally significant to you and you won’t miss the alcohol … or the hangover.
- Mocktails! — Find a few non-alcoholic cocktails or beverages you love. Then, when you’re invited to a party or barbeque, offer to contribute. Use seltzers, natural juices and teas to make drinks that are healthy, hydrating, delicious and fun to drink.
Remember, Recovery Doesn’t Take a Vacation
The kids are out of school, the lake house is beckoning and the weeks are filled with impromptu backyard barbeques. The fixed routines we follow throughout the rest of the year tend to relax a little, and it’s natural to want to skip a meeting or a sponsor call in favor of something more fun. But recovery doesn’t take a vacation. Though this time of year can feel relaxed and our old addictive ways can seem like less of a threat, a complacent attitude is a slippery slope.
If summer feels a little less stressful, then this is the time to fortify recovery when you aren’t consumed with putting out fires in other areas of life. You never know when you may need these recovery reserves in the future. Soak in the message of your meeting, work on strengthening relationships with family, friends and recovery fellows, and pour your efforts into helping newcomers.
Follow these steps to strengthen your recovery while enjoying the warm weather season. Summer is here and it’s a good time to be sober.
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