Sober Summer

Summer is a time for letting loose and enjoying yourself. If you’re in recovery, though, looking at a sober summer can feel daunting. Celebrating the warm weather with barbecues and other gatherings is going to look a bit different for you.

These 8 Tips Offer Advice and Support to Avoid Relapse During the Summer

1. Try Something New

Habits play an enormous role in staying sober. Creating new habits involves breaking ties with the old ones. Staying away from situations that you associate with substance use is essential for a sober summer.

That means something different for everyone. Take some time to consider the triggers that you associate with substance use. Perhaps sitting at an outdoor restaurant makes you want a drink. Late-night parties might cause drug cravings. Hanging out with your old friends could make it hard to stay sober.

Eliminating a bad habit is easier when you can replace it with a good one. Therefore, you should try new activities to support your sober summer.

The sky is the limit. Some ideas for new things that you can try during your sober summer include:

  • Picking up a new hobby
  • Taking weekend trips to nearby destinations
  • Joining a sports league
  • Seeing every blockbuster movie that comes out during these months
  • Going to a regular yoga class
  • Taking a summer class
  • Exploring new books at the local library
  • Trying a new recipe
  • Checking out different coffee shops
  • Setting goals for the rest of the year

To make it easier to try new things, keep a running list. Jot down ideas as they come to you. Then, if you’re feeling bored, stagnant or restless, you can choose something from the list and occupy your time with a fun new activity.

2. Stay Active

Many addiction treatment facilities incorporate exercise into their programs. Moving your body is important for staying sober. Exercise offers the following benefits:

  • Stress reduction
  • Better sleep
  • Enhanced mood
  • Increased energy

When you feel good, you’re likely to use the coping skills that you learn during treatment. The enhanced sleep, energy and mental clarity that you get from exercise can help you stay steady on your sober path. Moreover, exercise increases endorphin levels, giving you a natural mood boost.

Being active can help you stay away from the beer cooler at summer events and curb cravings. Work on your surfing skills when you go to the beach. Lace up your sneakers to go for regular hikes. Get on your bike to feel the breeze in your hair. These activities give you something to work toward. Set some goals and track your progress so that you remain consistent.

3. Host the Gathering

You can’t always guarantee that summer gatherings will be free of drugs and alcohol. However, if you host the gatherings, you can also set the rules. What if you made your home the sober summer party house?

That way, you choose the beverages and foods that are served. You can ask guests to abstain from using substances while they’re visiting. This doesn’t mean that the party has to be boring. You can get extremely creative with appetizers, mocktails, games and entertainment to have fun and stay sober.

4. Keep a Drink in Your Hand

If you’re tempted to drink alcohol during the summer months, you can thwart your cravings by keeping a non-alcoholic drink in your hands. Choose something tasty. Allowing yourself to have this treat can help you stay sober. Plus, others will be less likely to offer you a drink if you already have one.

5. Play With Animals

Do you have pets? Get outdoors and throw the Frisbee with Fido for some exercise and entertainment. If owning a pet seems too overwhelming, consider fostering an animal temporarily or volunteering for a shelter.

If you live in an area with local farms, find out whether they need help caring for their livestock. Working with animals gives you a sense of accomplishment. It allows you to get the benefits of connecting with others without the overwhelming feelings that can come from social stimulation.

6. Watch What You Consume

The media that you consume affects your state of mind. Summer is a great time to delve into books, movies and television shows that make you feel good. If you’re short on time, consider subscribing to a podcast that helps you stay positive. Consuming affirming, encouraging and empowering information can help you stay sober throughout the summer and beyond.

7. Keep Going to Groups

Although summer tends to be a laid-back time, it shouldn’t make you ignore all of your responsibilities. One of your most important obligations is going to support groups and meetings. These don’t stop during the summer.

Even though people tend to socialize a great deal during the summer, you might feel alone if you’re sober. This isolation can lead to cravings and relapse. Attending meetings with other people who are trying to stay sober helps you stay on the path toward recovery. You can commiserate with people who understand what you’re going through, which will help you feel less alone.

8. Excuse Yourself

Even if you’re aware of your triggers and set yourself up for sober success, you might still find yourself in uncomfortable circumstances from time to time. Establish a plan for seeking support when you need to get away from a potentially detrimental situation.

For example, enlist a supportive, non-judgmental friend to be on call. You can get in touch with them if you’re feeling uncomfortable, and they can pick you up with a plan for a more constructive activity. Maybe they can bring you home and watch a movie. They might take you to a meeting. Organizing this ahead of time can give you peace of mind if you start to feel anxious during a summer activity.

If you’re concerned about staying sober this summer, Burning Tree West can help. Our programs offer various levels of support to help you get sober and transition to a fulfilling life in recovery. Contact us to learn more about sober living and other programs that can help you have a sober summer.