Summertime in Recovery
You’ve worked hard to reach a point of sobriety in your life. Take a moment to think back about what you’ve accomplished and the numerous obstacles you’ve faced along the way. It certainly wasn’t easy!
When the summertime months roll around and everyone seems to have a drink in hand at each weekend’s barbecue, it can become a bit frustrating, intimidating, and even worrisome when you want to maintain your social life without compromising your sobriety. You want to live life to the fullest. So how do you make summertime enjoyable when everyone else is drinking?
First, pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come. Then, consider a few ways to celebrate in a meaningful and healthy manner. Forget the hangovers and the costly bar tabs. Instead, focus on a few ways to make this the best summer possible.
#1: Host Your Own Event That’s Substance-Free
Make it a celebration. Let everyone know you’re celebrating a new lease on life. Ask them to be respectful in not bringing any substances with them. Let your guests know how important they are to you, especially if they’ve helped support your efforts in getting to this point.
Then, plan for the fun:
- Prepare foods you enjoy
- Celebrate with treats from your childhood
- Enjoy some water fun with an adult slip-and-slide
- Set up a backyard fire pit to sit around and relax
- Consider some competitive bocce ball, volleyball, or cornhole
Keep the day packed with things to do. Invite only people who make you feel comfortable and who you want to be around. A stress-free barbecue like this is a great time to help people reconnect with you and each other.
#2: Get Away for a Short Break
Instead of trying to recreate what you usually do during the summer, try something new. If you have renewed energy since becoming sober, plan a hike at a nearby national park. The National Park Service provides a simple tool to help you plan the entire trip.
Consider a trip to a local amusement park, especially if you haven’t been to one in a long time. Even a fun, family-friendly water park can be a good way to burn off some steam.
Go on that long fishing trip with your good friend that you’ve been putting off. Take the time to visit with the family members you haven’t seen in so long because of your illness. Getting away is one of the best ways to create new memories.
#3: Make This the Summer About You
Often, a person with a drug or alcohol addiction abandons many of the things they used to enjoy. Your body and mind are healing now. Make now the time to focus on improving yourself in ways that matter only to you. Here are some ideas:
- Get back into the sport you used to love. Find a local rec league to connect with people in the community.
- Work on your fitness goals. Find a low-cost, local gym and splurge on a session or two with a personal trainer. Find a workout partner to help you both maintain your goals.
- Start a new hobby you are interested in, whether it is indoors, outdoors, with others, or something you do on your own. Start something new.
- Consider taking the college courses you’ve put off so long.
- Take some time to dream and develop new ideas about what you want in your life and for your future.
There are no wrong answers. Choose what interests you or what you’ve wanted to achieve for a long time.
Making It Through the Hard Times This Summer
The goal is to stay busy and happy during your first (or 10th) summer in sobriety. Yet even if you work hard at this, there may be times when you’re faced with a few rough patches that put you at risk. Knowing what to do at those times can make a big difference in your future going forward.
- You’ve found yourself around people who are drinking. When possible, keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand so people won’t try to give you alcohol. If the temptation gets to be too much, excuse yourself.
- Your memories of spending time getting high or intoxicated are more constant now, and you’re getting sentimental about them. That’s a sign that you need some help. Reach out to your alcohol addiction treatment center immediately. Turn to a local mentor or support group for help, too.
- The stress of life is getting to be too high. Pressure from family and friends, work, and other components of life can sometimes make it difficult to stay balanced. Take the time you need to work through your stress using the strategies you’ve developed during treatment.
Recognize that you are never alone when it comes to beating drug and alcohol addiction. You’ve worked this hard to have a chance at life. Now, it’s your turn to live it fully.