Summer is here! The sky is blue and the temperatures are high, perfect weather for planning barbeques, pool parties, concerts, and beach days. With summertime comes socialization, and often with socialization comes alcoholic beverages or other substances. For those recovering from alcohol or substance abuse or for those who are still struggling, the summer season can be an especially difficult time to maintain sobriety.
With today being the first official day of summer, we have decided to provide some helpful tips for staying sober in the summer.
- Maintain Connection with Other People in Recovery Whether you’re new to recovery or have had some time, you can never have too many people supporting your recovery. Take the time to keep connected with others you have met in recovery. These people are in the same situations and understand what you are going through. Attending meetings and support groups are a great way to stay motivated and dedicated to maintaining your sobriety.
- Bring a Friend Who Understands When attending a summer party or event, bring along someone who knows and understands your situation. Make sure this person supports your sobriety 100 percent and wants to see you succeed. Ensure that this person will help you refrain from temptation and create a plan of action to leave early together if necessary.
- Host Your Own Event If you have the ability, hosting your own picnic or party is a great way to take advantage of summer fun where you are in totally in charge of the situation. You have the chance to plan the guest list, activities, and venue. Organizing your own gathering is an ideal opportunity to practice sobriety in a social setting on your own terms.
- Avoid Triggers In the early and delicate stage of recovery, and if possible, avoiding triggers during the summer time may be a good idea. Avoid putting yourself in a situation that may be too difficult for you, and understand that this is a process. Instead of going with your friends to a party or club, where you know there will be alcohol, contact them individually to hang out one-on-one. Plan a day at the beach or a street fair, somewhere you know it will be easier to avoid triggers.
- Drink Something Else If you find yourself attending a backyard, pool, or barbecue party, fill your red solo cup with a non-alcoholic drink. This way, you are kept occupied with a drink and less tempted to serve yourself a spiked beverage. Also, having a drink in your hand prevents others from offering you one.
- Stay Away from Old Faces and Places It’s likely that there are many people and places that you associate with your substance use. Just as it’s important to surround yourself with a network of other sober individuals, it is important to avoid the people you used with or the places you used it. Be honest with yourself and the motives that these people may have. If you think you would be okay with these people or places, but aren’t really sure, it’s most likely not worth the risk.
- Relax and Enjoy Summer When expectations are set too high, it can create unnecessary stress. If you’re planning a summer getaway, try to let go of your expectations for the perfect vacation. Remember that summer comes around every year, and there will be endless opportunities for trips and celebrations. The more expectations you place on yourself, the more stress you add and the higher chance of hindering your recovery. Try to relax and enjoy your time.
- Be Good to Yourself and Celebrate Your Recovery One day at a time! One of the most important things you can do for your own personal journey is to be good to yourself. Understand that this is a lifelong journey and there will be obstacles along the way. Just because there are obstacles that arise from time to time does not mean you should get discouraged. Take it day by day and work on uplifting yourself. In the most difficult moments, never forget that you are worthy of forgiveness and happiness!
Summer can be an especially difficult time for those in recovery. Utilizing these tips and resources around you can help you remain sober and focused on your health and recovery in the summer season.