Tips for Staying Sober This Summer
It’s that time of year again when the weather is warming up. For many people, summertime marks a season of drinking, but what about those navigating early recovery or contemplating trying out a sober summer? There are plenty of options available to help keep you busy during the summer months and get you on the road to long-term recovery. If you or someone you know is considering having a sober summer, please consider taking some of these suggestions into consideration when sitting down to plan out the summer.
Stay away from triggering events and people
During the early recovery days, I found it helpful to stay away from triggering events and people. I cut ties with many people I used to binge drink with, and I developed new habits and routines. I stopped going to bars and other places which are based on drinking alcohol. This took some time to get used to, but now I don’t even miss it anymore.
Learn a new skill
One of the great things about living a life of recovery is the time and energy that sobriety provides. I didn’t have much motivation to learn anything new during my active addiction. However, once I got sober, I made a point to start learning new skills, and I continue to do so to this day.
Spend time with supportive people
If you want to stay sober, you will need some supportive people around you. I have realized that I don’t have time for people who will bring me down anymore. The people and relationships that I invest my time in are loving and supportive of my sobriety. It is better to have a small group of supportive friends than a large group of unsupportive people in your life.
Read lots of books
Getting sober reopened the wonderful world of reading; while I was drinking, I didn’t have much time or energy for books and feeding my mind. Now that I am sober, I read regularly and have remembered how much I really enjoy the process. If you have never been much of a reader, I highly recommend giving it a shot; you never know what you will learn or how much you may like it.
Stay busy and productive
The more productive time you have, the less likely you will want to drink or use drugs. It is beneficial to figure out a good schedule and routine during early recovery and stick to it as much as possible. It is wise to schedule relaxation and downtime, but it is best not to have too much idle time while adjusting to living a life of recovery.
Plant a garden
There is something very satisfying about planting a garden, taking care of it, and watching it grow. Gardening is an excellent hobby if you have the time and space. Even having a few houseplants can help elevate a person’s mood and give them a sense of purpose.
Invest time in a hobby
Early recovery is a great time to find and develop new hobbies. Addiction often robs a person of their free time, and recovery gives this back. Many people in recovery find that they are actually very good at various things they would never have thought to try while still using drugs or alcohol.
Spend time outside
Getting fresh air and sunshine does wonders for a person’s overall well-being. Summertime provides many opportunities for people to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. The more time you can spend outside, the better.
Focus on physical health habits and routines
Eating healthy foods and developing regular exercise routines will help anyone feel better physically and improve their overall mental and emotional well-being. So creating healthy habits and practices in early recovery will you build a firm foundation for their sober lifestyle.
Keep things in balance
While it can be tempting to want to fill up every day with lots of fun things to do, it is essential to remember to keep things in balance. Make time for sleep and relaxation along with responsibilities and fun. When it comes to living a life of recovery, finding and maintaining balance is critical.
Make new sober friends
Making new friends isn’t always easy, but it is well worth it. Thankfully, several sobriety groups are available online to help people in recovery meet other sober people with whom they can hang out. Use caution when meeting anyone off of the internet and follow proper safety guidelines. While early recovery may feel isolating, it is essential to remember that many people out there actually enjoy living a life of sobriety.
Maintain healthy boundaries
Having healthy boundaries and learning to say no are essential aspects of staying sober. Anyone who wants to live a life of recovery must know what their limits are and what they will and will not tolerate and stick to their convictions. Some people may try to push your boundaries or ask you to do things you are not comfortable doing; these are the times it is essential to be able to say no. There is nothing wrong with protecting your own sobriety and overall well-being.
Limit negative influences
It is tough to stay sober when surrounded by negative influences; for this reason, anyone in recovery must limit the negative influences in their life. Negative influences can take the form of people, places, books, music, movies, television, etc. In addition, anything that compromises your sobriety can be considered a negative influence. While we cannot get rid of all of the negative influences in our lives, we can certainly do our best to limit them as much as possible.
Set personal goals
Setting goals and planning out steps to achieve them is one of the most rewarding aspects of life. It is vital that people in recovery make goals for themselves both short-term and long-term. Having dreams helps us stay on our goals and say no to things that might tempt us to fall off track.
Be kind to yourself
Living a life of recovery is not always easy, and overcoming addiction can be a challenge. It is important to remember to be kind to yourself and learn to forgive yourself for past mistakes. The most important relationship you will need to develop in sobriety is the one you have with yourself, so remember to be kind and patient with yourself, especially as you are just starting out.
Seek professional help if needed
I walked into a Narconon center ten years ago and spent my first sober summer in rehab. It certainly wasn’t always easy, but I put in the work needed to build a solid foundation for a life of long-term recovery. I had tried getting sober on my own and hadn’t found much success until I decided to seek out some professional help. Ten years later, I am so grateful for my decision to get treatment for my addiction. If you or someone you know is considering addiction treatment, the first step is to reach out for help; who knows, it could be the start of a brand new journey.
Reviewed by Matt Hawk, BS, CADC-II, ICADC