It’s fair to say that we all love summer for one reason or another, the days last longer, the weather gets nicer, and the parties are never-ending .
And although summer is the time for some much needed fun, it can be a very difficult few months for those desperately attempting to hold on to their sobriety. With so many barbecues and parties there is sure to be alcohol around and it can be hard to say no to a drink when everyone around you is having one, but before you take that drink think about why you stopped drinking in the first place.
Yes, during the party you may be having fun drinking, but that is only temporary and then you’re right back at day 1 starting all over again. Remember how much it took to get to where you are now and think about the people that want to see you succeed. Don’t let temporary fun prevent you from living a happy and healthy life.
Sobriety is a lifestyle. One that is only as difficult as you make it. Here are some tools to help you maintain your sober lifestyle throughout the summer months:
1. Spend time with other people in recovery
Although much of recovery involves your own individual journey, the value of a strong support system cannot be underestimated, and having a friend or group of friends that are also in recovery can be a key part in that support system.
Not only will this person or group of people be your own personal lifeline during difficult times, they will also understand your struggles like no one else. Whatever you are feeling they are likely having similar feelings and thoughts. Conquer challenges as a team and they will not seem so tough. Together you can rely on each other for motivation and support.
When you spend time with others in recovery you’ll receive “healthy peer pressure” which means that as a group you’ll be pushing and encouraging each other not to drink. When you know your partner in recovery is counting on you, you don’t want to let them down and leave them alone because you chose to drink. Instead of being the one that needs rescuing, you can be a hero for someone wanting to stay sober. Not only will spending time with people in recovery help you to stay sober, but you will also feel good about yourself knowing that you’re helping others.
2. Stay away from your triggers
Stay away from those old favorite bars and hangouts of yours. There’s no reason to put yourself into an environment where most of your experiences included alcohol. That is not in line with what you have been working so hard to achieve.
The bar may be the physical trigger because every time you see or pass it you think about drinking and the experiences you had there, but the bar is just a building and it is not the true problem, it’s a culmination of experiences associated with the bar.
More importantly than avoiding past triggers is purging some of your old friends. This may sound like a bad thing at first and it may be hard but you have to truly think about who is good for you and who is not. Holding onto toxic friendships aren’t harmless. Who you spend time with makes you who are, so get rid of people who don’t add positive value to your sobriety.
3. Volunteer your time
Just like you need people to help you, there are people who need your help. There are tons of opportunities for volunteer work for all sorts of causes from animal shelters to sporting events and they all need help that you can provide.
The old saying, “for it is in giving that we receive” holds the most substance. You’ll have known this feeling if you ever gave someone a Christmas or birthday present that they really loved and appreciated. Even though you didn’t receive anything you felt happy for the rest of the day. More valuable than any material gift, is the gift of taking time out of your life and giving it to someone else in need.
When you are busy volunteering you’re surrounding yourself with so much positivity which in turn, puts you in a good mood. Release those karma endorphins, stay busy and keep your perspective on what matters most in life in your mindseye.
4. Get active
Replace the habit of drinking with a habit of exercise. When we exercise there are “happy chemicals” such as endorphins that are released and make us feel good. Throughout the summer there are all kinds of events like 5k runs and volleyball tournaments, but those aren’t for everybody and that’s fine. Even less intense activities like walking or hiking can release endorphins and the positive effects can last for hours.
Summer is the perfect time for activities, you can do so much with the warmer weather and longer days, and even when it’s too hot outside you can go to a gym or workout inside.
By performing regular exercise or playing sports you will increase your health and change your overall lifestyle which will benefit you in your recovery both physically and mentally.
5. Have fun
Being sober doesn’t have to be some boring lifestyle where you never go out with friends or go to parties. Sobriety can and should be fun, knowing that you’re actively taking care of yourself and changing your life.
You don’t have to be that person that sits at home and misses out on all the 4th of July fun, because you know there will be alcohol around, all that is going to do is put you into a solitary environment that will make you want to drink more. Instead, go to the party and invite your other friends in recovery, and have a good time with friends and family. They will be happy to have you there and see the progress you’re making.
Are you having trouble staying sober?
If you need some help staying sober over the summer or you are looking for treatment to help you get sober for the first time we at Altus are here 24/7 to answer your calls and guide you through a lifetime of recovery.
Call us at (888) 240-0061 and our treatment specialists will work with you to help find a treatment plan that works for you.