Tips for a Sober Summer - Carolina Center for Recovery
While sobriety can be challenging to maintain during any season of the year, summer can be especially hard. This is due to the prevalence of beach trips, backyard BBQ parties, and even vacations or cruises. All of these common summer activities often involve drinking alcohol or using other forms of mood and mind-altering substances.
The temptation to drink or use drugs can be found everywhere, especially for recovering addicts and alcoholics. In order to maintain your sobriety throughout activities that trigger your desire to drink or get high, you must develop healthy coping mechanisms. Therefore, during the summertime, it is vital for addicts and alcoholics to seek out new, effective ways to continue their abstinence and strengthen their sobriety. The following text will contain tips on how to maintain your sobriety throughout the summer.
Stay Active & Enjoy the Outdoors
Exercising is a great coping mechanism for individuals dealing with a wide variety of issues, including addiction. Research has shown that exercising, as well as being outdoors, allows individuals to relieve stress naturally. This is extremely important for recovering addicts, as stress is a major factor in their desire to use drugs or alcohol.
Whether you prefer going to the beach, hiking, doing yoga, or going to a park, being outside in the fresh air will help to reduce stress, therefore, helping you stay sober this summer. Additionally, summertime is the perfect time of year to engage in outdoor activities. Since many individuals have more free time on their hands during the summer, it is vital to find healthy activities to engage in. This will allow recovering addicts to stay busy and healthy – preventing an unnecessary relapse.
Attend More Recovery Meetings This Summer
If you are in recovery and are experiencing a hard time staying sober during the summer, attending recovery meetings may be a wise move. Recovery meetings are group discussions or speaker meetings that focus on maintaining sobriety and building upon one’s personal goals in recovery. Additionally, these meetings can provide recovering or struggling addicts and alcoholics with a safe space to express their concerns and gain insight or advice.
Examples of common recovery meetings to attend:
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- Narcotics Anonymous
- Cocaine Anonymous
- SMART Recovery
- Women for Sobriety
- LifeRing Secular Recovery
If you are invited to a party that will contain substances that may trigger you to use, you should avoid attending. While one myth about recovery is that recovering addicts and alcoholics can’t attend parties and successfully abstain from their drug of choice, sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry. Instead of going to a party or a bar, you could get a cup of coffee with a sober friend or loved one.
If you are feeling left out, contact your friends who planned the party and make alternate plans with them on another day. Your friends will understand your reasoning for not attending their party. After all, your sobriety should always be your number one priority, as it allows you to live a full and happy life. If that means avoiding triggers in order to stay sober for the summer, then so be it.
Have an Exit Strategy
While it is optimal to avoid triggering situations, sometimes people do not have that ability. If you find yourself attending an event that could potentially be triggering, you should always have an exit strategy in place. Sometimes, leaving an event is stressful. You may be worried that people will find out about your past drug or alcohol issues or you could be afraid of offending the host of the event. Whatever the case is, exit strategies make staying sober throughout stressful situations less painful.
For example, if you find yourself experiencing a drug or alcohol craving at a family BBQ, having an exit strategy allows you to quickly remove yourself from your trigger. If this happens, your exit strategy could be to make up an excuse for an important obligation you forgot about. Another example of an exit strategy is to coordinate with a friend who is willing to call you if you need to escape from a triggering situation. Oftentimes, people will text their friend with an “S.O.S”, signaling them to call with an excuse for you to leave the event immediately. While this may seem dishonest, it is okay to lie in a situation where your sobriety is in danger.
Seek Additional Help When Needed
If you are struggling to stay sober during the summer, you may want to consider seeking additional help. Whether that means contacting a therapist for counseling or a psychiatrist for medication management – seeking help for additional issues is vital in the maintenance of sobriety. Many recovering addicts and alcoholics suffer from additional mental health conditions, which can also worsen during the summer due to having more free time to overthink. If you find yourself slipping back into old behaviors or negative patterns of thought, it may be time to consider additional mental health treatment.
Additionally, if you relapse during the summer, please do not be afraid to reach out for help. Many individuals battle with shame and guilt during a relapse, which prevents them from getting back on track. If an individual continues to use drugs or alcohol, additional personal, social, financial, and health issues arise. Relapse is a part of many individual’s stories, therefore, you should not feel shame. However, you should make sure to be open, honest, and willing to talk about your relapse and take action in order to achieve sobriety once again.
If you’re in recovery, following these tips for a sober summer can help you make this summer the best one yet.
Looking to Begin a Sober Summer?
If you or a loved one are currently battling addiction or alcohol, attending a professional addiction treatment program will provide you with the help you need. Since addiction is a lonely and isolating disease, our addiction treatment specialists provide each patient with support and encouragement. If you would like to have a sober summer, contact Carolina Center for Recovery today!
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.