Summer is a time of barbecues, parties, and vacations, where food is plentiful and beverages are flowing. How can you relax and enjoy the season while maintaining your sobriety?

Try these 8 tips to prioritize your health and enjoy a sober summer.

Avoid Triggers

Going to a bar or club may not be the best move in the early stages of recovery. Old habits can be hard to break, and familiar situations can lead you down a path you no longer want to take. So if there are people and places that you associate with your substance use, steer clear of them for now. Consider alternate venues, such as the park or the beach, to stay out of harm’s way. You don’t want to risk your hard-earned sobriety for one summer party.

Plan One-on-One Get-Togethers

If you used to see your friends at clubs and bars—and you want to avoid those spots this summer—make plans to get together with friends individually. That way, you can stay connected with the people you love, minus the temptation of a substance-filled social situation. You can even forge closer bonds by connecting one-on-one instead of getting lost in the noise of a large party atmosphere.

Bring a Friend

If you do plan to attend a summertime party, don’t go alone. Bring a friend who understands your goals and will help you stick to them. This can be a mentor with years of sobriety under their belt, or a close friend or family member who is committed to spending a dry (but fun) evening with you. While peers in early stages of recovery are an important part of your support network, they may not be the best choice for a summer-party wingman.

Bring Your Own Beverage

If you’re not sure what drinks will be served at a summer party, bring your favorite non-alcoholic beverage with you. You can even make your own mocktails for a fun, festive vibe. Keep a drink in your hand at all times so you won’t reach for something else—and so no one will offer you a drink. If someone does offer you a drink, be ready with a simple response such as “I’m all set,” “I don’t drink,” or “I’m driving.”

Prepare an Exit Strategy

Sometimes you can go to a summer gathering with the best of intentions, but the situation gets out of hand. That’s why it’s important to prepare an exit strategy in advance. Plan to have transportation and friends at the ready for a quick escape. And keep in mind that you don’t need to be the last one at the party. Set a time limit beforehand so you’re not tempted to drink when it gets late and your defenses are down. 

Host Your Own Party

If you throw the party, you’ll have control over the guest list, the venue, and the beverage options. You won’t be caught off-guard with surprise guests or unexpected triggers. Whether it’s a picnic at the park or a summer party in your own backyard, you can make the rules. You can even make it a dry celebration among sober friends, which is a great way to maintain a strong network of like-minded individuals.

Attend Meetings

Whether in-person or virtual, support groups are an essential part of maintaining your sobriety. When you’re in recovery, you need frequent reminders that you are not alone in your struggle. Walking alongside others on the journey can provide the encouragement you need to stay the course. With the accountability of a support group, you can keep your goals top of mind and prioritize your sobriety this summer.

Keep Moving

Though it’s important to unwind, it’s also wise to be on your guard against the temptations associated with long, lazy days of summer. Instead of lounging all day, fill your time with healthy activities you enjoy, such as walking, hiking, jogging, reading, journaling, gardening, or volunteering. Prioritize pursuits that help you clear your mind and make you feel refreshed. With plenty of fun activities to look forward to, you can enjoy a substance-free summer.

This summer, set specific goals to manage your triggers and prioritize your sobriety. With a healthy plan in place, you can manage warm-weather temptations and enjoy a sober summer.

Want to get sober this summer—and stay sober? Beachside Rehab can help. Contact our trained admissions counselors at (888) 984-5288 to learn more about our drug and alcohol treatment programs.

Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash