The leaves on the trees are starting to return, the wildflowers are blooming, and things are looking a lot more green. As the temperature steadily rises and the sun stays out for a little bit longer each day, it can only mean one thing: summer is right around the corner. For many people that means laying by the pool, barbecue cookouts, maybe a road trip or a beach vacation. For most people, a lot of these activities and the summer holidays that are coming up are immediately associated with alcohol or drug use. But for people in recovery from addiction or alcoholism, there are many ways to have a fun summer without any substances.
A Sober Fun Summer
When I first got sober, I thought all of the fun was over- how was I supposed to enjoy events, concerts, weekends, or vacations without alcohol? My whole life revolved around substances, so it should have been no surprise that I thought the fun part of my life was over when I gave them up.
Fortunately, I was sorely mistaken- I’ve had the most fun of my entire life during sobriety, and my first summer sober was the most fun summer I had ever had. That’s because I was coherent and present enough to try new things and fully enjoy all of the activities I was involved in. It also helped to have a good sober support network of people to enjoy life with. By focusing on enjoying spending time with the people around me and pursuing new hobbies, I had more fun that I ever had while I was drinking and drugging.
One of the keys to having a fun summer is taking advantage of the natural beauty around us, spending time outside, and staying busy with a variety of activities. If you want to have a fun summer and still stay sober, there is a huge range of things you can do to make the most of the gorgeous weather and vacation vibes. Some ideas for sober summer activities include:
- Going on a day hike or a mini-camping trip with friends
- Spending a day at the pool or the beach
- Learning a new hobby- taking a dance or music class, learning to paint or draw, picking up a sport like ultimate frisbee, or getting involved in a craft project
- Doing service- spending time serving at a soup kitchen or an animal shelter can keep you busy, help the community, and remind you to be grateful for the blessings in your life
- Work on your sober support network- summer is a great time to invest in new friendships or to get coffee with someone you have connected with at a recovery fellowship meeting
- Create a new exercise routine
- Spend time in nature, meditating, walking, or just enjoying the nice weather
- Visit a museum or aquarium
- Go out for a boat ride or try a new water sport, like paddleboarding or surfing
All of the things listed above can be a great way to have a fun summer, and absolutely none of them require alcohol or drugs to participate in- in fact, you may find that you get so much more out of experiencing a new thing without substances clouding your mind.
What About Summer Events?
Summer can be a hard time to stay sober because of all of the events and holidays during the season. For example, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are often big drinking days for many people, and barbecues usually feature alcohol as part of the menu. However, there are ways to enjoy these fun summer events without indulging in alcohol or other substances. For navigating family gatherings or holidays where alcohol may be served, the following tips may help you to stay sober and still enjoy yourself:
- Bring a sober friend to events with alcohol- that way you’ll have a buddy who is also abstaining from alcohol
- Keep in touch with your sponsor or your sober support network
- Tell the people hosting the event that you don’t drink so that there is another beverage option available for you (if you’re comfortable with this)
- Offer to be the designated driver so that you have an excuse to refuse drinks if you’re not comfortable telling people about your sobriety or recovery
- Focus on meeting new people, participating in the activities, or helping the host/hostess in some way (by cooking, setting up, etc.) so that you’re busy
- Feel free to leave when you need to! Nothing is more important than your recovery, and it’s ok to politely excuse yourself if you are feeling triggered.
It’s totally possible to have a fun summer without drugs and alcohol, and you may even find that you have more fun without substances. If you want to make this summer your first sober one and need help quitting drugs and alcohol, call Wellness Retreat Recovery today at 888-821-0238 for information on treatment.