Summer is fun. There is so much to do. Everyone is outdoors. Work seems more relaxed. People are in good moods. There are activities and get-togethers almost every weekend. Summer is a great time to enjoy and take advantage of your new sobriety. It will also come with new, seasonal challenges, but you can navigate these and still have fun. Use summer as motivation for staying, or getting, clean.
Why Be Sober in the Summer?
The sun is shining. The weather is perfect. Friends and family are having fun and spending time together. If you want to participate, if you want to take advantage of all summer has to offer, you really need to be sober. When you are sober, you can pick up new summertime hobbies. You can join a recreational sports team and play kickball, softball or other sports in a social, relaxed environment. You can take finally learn how to surf, play tennis or try other outdoor sports that always seemed fun.
When you’re sober, you have the health and energy to do things you enjoy and things that are good for you. All those activities also come with the added bonus of increased social interaction. You can meet and make friends with similar interests in being healthy, happy and active. Of course, if you’d rather spend time by yourself, you can still take advantage of your new strength and energy with a bike ride, a long walk or a swim. Either way, staying active supports your recovery.1
Summer is also a great time to plan a vacation. Addiction usually involves unhealthy escape, but once sober you can plan a healthy getaway. Venture across several states or stay close to home. Go hiking or camping and connect with nature. Find the space and peace you need for inner reflection and some perspective on daily life. If sleeping under the stars is too rustic, treat yourself to a spa day or a vacation that includes lounging by a pool with a good book. No matter where you are, take time to appreciate your ability to truly relax now that you’re sober.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration2 explains, “Practicing anti-drug activities doesn’t mean you have to be busy. It can also mean mental activity such as prayer and meditation. There are many forms of meditation...These mental exercises can help get you out of ‘automatic pilot.’”
Life is no longer stressed by the constant need for drugs. Now that you’re sober, you’re no longer worried about your immediate health, getting your next fix, or lying to family members or bosses about what is going on in your life. Summer is a great time to get away and truly appreciate that.
Stay Connected, Avoid Temptation
A sober summer isn’t all thoughtless fun. You do have to be aware of the temptations that accompany many activities. Barbecues and get-togethers come with offers of beer and other alcohol. Keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand to make refusing those offers easier. If you are open about your addiction past, ask friends and family members to throw alcohol-free events or to at least have plenty of non-alcoholic options. If being in a party environment is too much for you at any time, don’t be afraid to schedule something else. Go to the movies, or find a support group meeting. Simply enjoy a night in by yourself instead.
If you are the friend, family member or coworker of a recovering addict, never pressure him or her to drink. If you are unsure about what you should do or say, simply ask. Most recovering individuals will gladly tell you what is and isn’t triggering and how you can create fun, supportive events. If you are the loved one of a recovering addict, call and check in. Make sure you are available to talk if and when your friend or family member needs you.
Vacation can also create new temptations, as you will be away from your usual sober routine. Find local support group meetings to attend while you’re away. Talk with your therapist before you go to make sure you have the tools and resources you need to navigate unknown events and activities. Create accountability for yourself. Friends and family may no longer be nearby to see what you do, but you are always with you. Travel isn’t “time off” from sobriety, because slipping on vacation can easily lead to a full relapse.
If you have yet to find sobriety or are ready to try again, summer can provide great motivation. You want to be yourself again. You want to be active, have fun and connect with others. Sobriety lets you do all this. Choose treatment today for your best summer yet. Sobriety gets easier as you go, so every season will be better than the last. You have a bright, healthy future in front of you. Reach for it, and ask for help today.
By Alanna Hilbink , a writer for The Life Challenge
1 Smith MA, Lynch WJ. “Exercise as a Potential Treatment for Drug Abuse: Evidence from Preclinical Studies.” Frontiers in Psychiatry. 12 Jan. 2012. Accessed 9 Aug. 2017.
2 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Next Step...Toward a Better Life. 2011. Accessed 9 Aug. 2017.
The Anaheim Lighthouse is a modern and effective addiction treatment center in Southern California. To talk to us about addiction treatment programs at our affordable drug and alcohol rehab that fit your needs, call (844) 494-4939.