Sober living is all about making the most out of life and finding fun and happiness without alcohol or drugs. Luckily, summer makes it easy to appreciate life and the world around us. The sun is out, the flowers are in bloom and there are plenty of activities and events to help you let loose.
But the summer can also be a challenging time for those in recovery. For many, summer becomes the partying season where friends and family spend time together quite often. People tend to enjoy backyard barbecues and outdoor concerts with a few drinks, which can put you in a difficult position. So, is it possible to blend summertime fun with sobriety? Of course it is!
Guard Against Summer Relapsing
There’s no way to remove every risk from your life, and recognizing this risk is an important step in protecting yourself. Studies have shown that 50 percent of recovering individuals relapse during their first year. During the summer months, it’s more important than ever to take steps to minimize risks whenever possible so you don’t relapse. Here are some ideas that can help you stay on the straight and narrow path:
- Be active in an aftercare program or another type of 12-step program. If you’re already involved in a group, consider increasing the frequency in which you attend meetings.
- Have a sponsor and one that will not simply pretend to be your savior and fail to pick up the phone during this high-risk time. You want someone who truly will have your back and are available whenever you need to talk.
- Once you develop that relationship with a sponsor, find ways to spend time with him or her. You could even bring your sponsor as your plus-one to a party you were invited to. It’s a great way for you to stay focused on what’s important even in the face of temptation.
- When everyone else is drinking, find something else to drink that’s still tasty and interesting. Be mindful that you don’t have to give up great food and drinks – just choose non-alcoholic versions. When it gets hard to watch others drink, use one of your 12 step chips or even a sobriety medallion to help. Rub your fingers on it and notice the value it provides to your life. And of course prayer always works in all situations.
- If the event is going to be nothing but drinking, ask yourself if it really is worth going. Will it put your sobriety at risk? Instead, ask a friend to go see a movie, visit a local park or go bowling! There are plenty of engaging and fun activities out there that don’t involve alcohol.
Staying sober this summer is your ultimate goal. You need to get beyond that 12-month mark to really see the impact it can have on your life. You can have fun. To do so, focus on including the right people in your life, avoid high-risk situations, and participate other activities that are more enjoyable to you that won’t hamper your recovery.