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3 Tips for a Sober Summer Vacation

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Medically Verified: 2/1/24

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

The rising temperatures and long days of summer make this the season for fun. Backyard BBQs, summer weddings, nights around a campfire–all of these things make these warm months some of the best of the year. These events and gatherings are full of fun, friends, and family. They have something else in common: alcohol.

At any stage of recovery from alcohol addiction, summer presents some situations that can feel challenging. Especially in the beginning, saying no to alcohol throughout the summer might feel a little daunting. You might be tempted to just skip out on all the fun in the sun to protect your sobriety–or you might go into these events without considering the risks.

Whether this is your first summer in recovery or your 50th, the season can present some challenges. Take a little time to think about how to protect your sobriety so you can enjoy the best of the summer months while staying on track. Since vacations can be a particularly challenging time when it comes to staying sober, let’s take a look at the ways you can plan and experience an exciting sober summer vacation.

3 Tips For Your Best Sober Summer Vacation Ever

1. Plan Your Own Fun

Don’t wait for the invitations to come in–plan your own sober event. Planning your own sober vacation summer event means you control who will be there and what will be offered. You can invite friends to join you for non-alcoholic drinks around the fire, host a sober potluck, or for a more elaborate summer adventure, plan a week-long camping trip or a road trip. Part of recovery is finding joy and meaning in your new lifestyle. Think of something that would be fun to do and then invite people who are supportive of your recovery to join you.

2. Always Have an Out

If you attend a summer event where alcohol will be served, always make sure you can leave whenever you need to. Don’t rely on someone else for a ride home or agree to stay overnight without being able to leave if you need to. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or angry, leave right away. If you have a strained relationship with someone who will be there, think about skipping the event.

3. Bring A Sober Buddy

In any social situation, make sure you’ve got at least one other sober friend with you. This might mean inviting someone from your sober living community or another friend who is in recovery. Not only does this ensure you’ll have someone else who is guaranteed to be sober, but it means you’ll have support if you happen to run into a trigger.

Sober Summer Vacation Ideas

Sober Summer Vacation Ideas

Enjoying a sober summer doesn’t have to mean skipping out on the fun. In fact, it can be the perfect opportunity to start new traditions, go on new adventures, and make new friends. With so much focus on alcohol in the past, you might feel a little unsure about how to enjoy the warmer months without drinking. Some fun, sober summer vacation ideas include:

  • Hiking – Explore a nearby state or national park and log some miles on the trail. Go for a short hike or work your way up to some longer treks.
  • Sporting events – Attend an outdoor baseball game, join a recreational softball league, or invite people over to watch a game at your place.
  • Theme parks and fairs – Grab a sober buddy and ride the rollercoasters at your local theme park. Go to the nearest state or county fair and check out the sights. Embrace your inner child by enjoying all the fried or sweet treats you can handle.
  • Camping – Whether you sleep in a tent, RV, or under the stars, camping gives you the chance to enjoy the great outdoors and reconnect with nature.
  • Day trips – On your own or with friends, choose a fun destination a few hours away and head out for the day. Find the location of the best burger, a quirky roadside attraction, or a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while. Make a good road trip soundtrack, pack up some snacks, and hit the road.

Sober summer events don’t have to be elaborate or require a ton of planning. Something as simple as going for a long walk around your neighborhood, meeting a friend for coffee outside, or going for a swim in a pool or lake can feel new and special.

How to Stay Sober on Vacation (Even if Everyone Else is Not)

As much as you plan and try, you may find yourself at an event where you are the only person who is not drinking alcohol. In these cases, you may want to leave. Or, if you are feeling confident, you could stay and practice what you’ve learned. Some strategies for staying sober while on a summer vacation include:

  • Bringing your own non-alcoholic drinks
  • Practice saying “no” at home beforehand
  • Take breaks to check in with yourself
  • Have an excuse ready (if you do not want to talk about being in recovery)

Most importantly, keep your focus on why you are in recovery. Think about the long-term goals you have for your health, future, and loved ones. Remind yourself about the progress you’ve made already in your lifelong journey in recovery.

Find the Support You Need at Carolina Center for Recovery

If you or someone you love needs addiction treatment or support during any stage of recovery, reach out to the staff at the Carolina Center for Recovery. We offer a range of adaptable, high-quality substance abuse treatment programs designed to empower people to overcome addiction and live the fulfilling lives they deserve.

Your health and future are waiting. Don’t wait another day for the support you need. Call us today to get started.