Summertime can be one of the most difficult times for recovery, especially if you’re newly sober. There are family gatherings, barbeques, and summer events where alcohol is available more often than not.
But there are lots of things you can do to help you stay sober and still have fun during the summer months.
1. Bring A Friend
If you don’t want to go it alone at the next barbeque, take a sober friend, a loved one, or even your sponsor with you. Anyone who is part of your support system. They can keep you accountable.
It’s also easier to be around drunk people if you aren’t the only one. It gives you someone to talk to who isn’t intoxicated.
If you can’t bring a friend or family member, have one text or call you throughout the party. It gives you someone to connect with if you’re struggling.
2. Set Time Limits
Setting a time limit for how long you stay at a summer party can also help. Set your phone’s timer for an hour. When time’s up, see how you feel. Is everyone drunk and you feel uncomfortable? It may be time to leave. If you’re fine, reset the timer for another hour.
Never feel like you have to stay. Your sobriety is more important than propriety. If someone is really your friend, they’ll understand why you need to leave.
3. Avoid Triggers
Once you figure out what your triggers are (people, places, situations, etc), it’s best to avoid them. If that means not going to parties at bars or certain restaurants, don’t go.
If you can’t see your friends at a party, try to contact them on your own and plan something that doesn’t involve alcohol.
4. Say No
This isn’t easy when you’re dealing with addiction. It’s hard to say no to a substance you were once dependent on, but it’s possible. Whether it’s the offer of a drink from an acquaintance or an invitation to a picnic where you know alcohol will be, you can say no.
If you feel like you can’t turn down a drink, it might be best to stay home or do something else. It might feel like a sacrifice but it will get easier with time.
5. Have An Exit Strategy
Planning a way to leave a barbeque or a pool party can be vital to your recovery. If a craving suddenly comes on, having a strategy to get away from the temptation is important.
Come up with an excuse. Say you have an appointment all of a sudden or need to get up early the next day. Say you need to help your parents with something. If you have kids, it’s totally okay to make them your excuse. Lying in these situations is completely acceptable.
6. Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Non-alcoholic drinks can be the saving grace for anyone with alcohol addiction. Whether your friends provide the non-alcoholic drinks or you bring your own, non-alcohol options or mocktails ensure you can enjoy the party as much as everyone else without drinking alcohol.
If the party is at a restaurant, check to see if they have non-alcoholic options.
And don’t worry about people judging you. They’ll either assume it’s an alcoholic beverage or will just mind their own business.
7. Spend Time Outside
Spending time outside can be a great way to have a sober summer. You can go for a walk or hike in the woods, garden in your backyard, or go swimming at the beach.
Any outside activity can be great exercise and amazing for your mental health. It also gives you a chance to spend time with friends and family.
8. Attend Meetings
If summer is a triggering time or you find your cravings ramp up in the summer, go to more meetings. They can really help you through stressful times. Reach out to your sponsor to go with you.
If you’re traveling, find a local AA or NA chapter and go to meetings all over the country.
9. Discover New Hobbies
Sometimes distractions can be the key to sobriety. And what better way to distract yourself and practice self-care than by picking up a new hobby or going back to an old one?
It can be cooking, painting, knitting, or learning a new instrument. Whatever fun activities you enjoy. As long as it keeps your mind off your cravings.
10. Plan A Vacation
If you go to the same place every year and it triggers you, pick somewhere else. There are lots of relaxing and beautiful places around the world.
If you need help planning a sober vacation, do some research. There are companies that help those in recovery find amazing vacation spots and fun sober activities.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, call our helpline today to learn about our addiction treatment options.