Ah, summertime. It’s all about the beach, barbecues, eating, drinking, and being merry. For those of you in recovery, it can be a challenging time, especially if you are new to navigating life without drugs or alcohol. The good news is that spending the holidays sober doesn’t need to be that much of a challenge if it is done correctly. With a little bit of thought and planning, you can make it through just fine.
How to Navigate Summer Holidays Sober
In general, the newer you are to sobriety, the more challenging new experiences will be. The bottom line is to avoid temptation as much as possible until you get more time and confidence underneath your belt. It is also all about who you surround yourself with. For example, if you are a recovering alcoholic, it is probably wise to avoid bars and keg parties until you are strong and healthy enough to naturally want to avoid drinking. True, good friends will support your decision and engage with you in activities that help to keep you sober. It is a great idea to befriend people who have been in recovery for a year or more. They are the ones who have been in your shoes and who will be able to advise you if things get tough.
If you do feel like it is ok to attend parties where there may be drinking or drug use involved, it is essential to have a backup plan in case things get tough. Some things you can do to prepare include:
- Go to the party with a trusted, sober friend. There is strength in numbers, and they will help to ensure you don’t give in to temptation.
- Bring your own drinks! If beer may be the only option available, bring something you enjoy drinking, like soda or juice, so that you have a healthy and sober option that you will like.
- Drive yourself! This way, if things get uncomfortable you can leave on your own accord. You don’t need to rely on anyone else and potentially put yourself into a bad situation.
Always consider how reasonable it is for you to put yourself into a situation where you may be tempted. Alcohol is harder to avoid than drugs since it is legal and socially acceptable to drink in many situations. If you are a recovering drug addict, it is probably smart to avoid any situation where drugs are involved. Unfortunately, people who are actively using often seek to bring other people down with them rather than build them up, which can cause you to relapse. It just isn’t worth it.
If alcohol is your substance of choice, give yourself time before you put yourself back into a situation where drinking is the main focus. Even though alcohol is everywhere, there are things you can do to stay away from it. If you attend 12-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous, your peers may have sober events that you would be welcome to join them in. You can do things like go to the beach, or to a park, and leave the alcohol behind.
Always make sure you are putting your sobriety first. Relapsing because of a summer get-together isn’t worth it. Nothing is! As you get more sober time behind you, the temptation will grow weaker. It is important to resist getting frustrated, and just take things day by day. Make sure to celebrate all the little accomplishments, like your first Memorial Day, July 4th, or Labor Day spent sober. Even if it seems trivial, it is a big accomplishment when you are trying to abstain from drugs and/or alcohol.
Remember to have fun, keep your holidays sober, and focus on the positive. Staying sober isn’t easy, but in the long run, it is worth it. After all, the rest of your life depends on it! If you do end up needing help throughout the summer months, give us a call at Willow Place for Women at 561-512-1605.