Ah, summertime. Days get longer, temperatures soar, and opportunities for fun and enjoyment seem to be endless. But this is also a time of year that there can be temptations or sticky situations for people trying to stay sober.
Whether you are vacationing with friends or family, vacation can be a tricky thing. Many of us have plenty of memories of drinking and partying while on vacation, and taking these trips in sobriety can trigger some of these old memories (generally only the good ones). The thought of having a drink on the beach or at a group dinner suddenly looks appealing. Furthermore, the people you are with may be drinking, making it all the more difficult. It is just important to remember why you are sober in the first place. You would be surprised at how many recovery meetings you can find when you are out of town, and making time to go to one or two meetings could help keep you on track for sobriety. Yes, you need to show up and be present for your loved ones, but without your recovery, that won’t be an option. Finding early morning (or evening) meetings still allows you to spend time with your family/friends, but will keep you connected to others in recovery and remind you of why your sobriety is so valuable. If going out to meetings isn’t an option, you can always call your sponsor or others in your recovery network to stay accountable and connected. Be sure to continue prayer and meditation, and look for ways to be of service to others while you are on the trip. Whether it’s helping with dishes, asking others how they are doing, or offering to watch the kids while the adults go out, making an effort to help others always pays off and can help ground you. Finally, if you are having a hard time, don’t be afraid to excuse yourself from situations that are tempting you. If you are new in sobriety or feeling spiritually disconnected, going to that beach bar with everyone might not be the best idea.
Sober Summer Fun
You may be concerned that being sober in the summer will be boring. You might see your “normal” friends going out more or day drinking, and feel left out or bored. But there are plenty of opportunities to have sober summer fun! Obviously the first thing is to reach out to your network. Having a solid group of sober friends is a great way to make sure you have a good time! You can organize group events, including beach trips, going to the pool, hiking, hitting a baseball game, grilling out, or checking out local parades/festivals/fairs are all great ways to enjoy the summer without drinking, and can be affordable as well. Don’t be afraid to work within your limits, either. While some people feel totally comfortable in drinking environments or where alcohol is served, others may not, and this can also ebb and flow during your sobriety. There is no shame in opting out of or excusing yourself from situations where you might end up taking a drink, or romanticizing it. If this is your first summer sober, don’t worry if it feels uncomfortable at first. Like anything, time takes time. The more summers you stay sober, the easier it will get, and the more you will figure out what will help you to max out your summer enjoyment without risking your sobriety!