If you’re recently sober, planning your summer can sound daunting. For many of us, summer is about freedom and destination locations that have little to do but drink. If you’re staying sober, that has to change – and with a little bit of planning, you should quickly realize life is a lot more fun when you can not only remember it but experience the next day without a hangover.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy your summer and your vacation without drinking. However, you will want to plan carefully, avoid those destination locations centered around beaches and bars, and take care to pick people to spend your summer with who will support your sobriety.
If you’re recently sober, you’re also recently out of a period where you probably let all of your hobbies go. You might realize you have nothing to fill your spare time with. While rehab can help and can introduce you to a plethora of options, it’s always a good idea to try new things and figure out what you like. For example, take a bouldering or rock-climbing course, try out fishing, go for introductory dance courses on several kinds of dance.
The goal is to find a fun and social activity that you love. And, of course, it’s important to keep in mind that love at first sight rarely happens with things that require skill. You’ll have to get through a few classes where you feel less than skilled or good about yourself before you make progress, but that’s part of the eventual fun.
If the weather is good, going out can actually make you feel good about yourself. Sunshine is good for mental health. Going for walks, eating dinner outside, having your morning coffee or tea on a balcony or in your yard are all great ways to get outside. Even creating a simple habit of walking to a park for lunch can improve how you feel and it will help you enjoy the summer.
If you have enough sober friends and family or those who are happy to socialize without alcohol, hosting your own sober BBQ, pool parties, or just parties can be a great way to go. People still love to hang out and socialize and share food. So, having a barbecue in the park is a great way to enjoy the summer. Just make sure you have alcohol-free summer drinks for you and your sober friends, and make sure you communicate that to your guests.
If you’re in a city, chances are, there’s a lot of social nightlife built around sobriety. An increasingly large number of people are eschewing alcohol as part of their normal life – so there are almost always parties, alcohol-free bars, board game evenings, and dance evenings that are alcohol free. That can be a great way to get to go and hang out with strangers, which you might enjoy, without having to sit at a bar surrounded by alcohol.
Art, culture, and history are all around us and chances are, even your own city has a lot to do that you may have never been to. Whether that ends up being museums, pottery classes, trips to see ruins, fossils, or even architectural tours is up to you. But, getting out exploring your city (or the neighboring one) and being outside to enjoy everything around you are a great way to enjoy your summer.
Chances are that if you’re not sober, you’re spending most of your free time drinking. When you’re sober, that’s no longer the case. And, chances are, you have a lot of budget freed up by not drinking anymore, so you can plan small weekend trips to nearby cities or to go camping or hiking – so you can enjoy the good weather. A city trip is a great way to walk around a city and see what that place has to offer. Of course, you should know where you’re going and that it has things to do that are not alcohol first.
Hiking and biking are a great way to get outside, to experience nature, and to make yourself feel good. Here, it’s important to start somewhere that aligns with your fitness level and not push it too fast. The goal is to feel good about yourself and to enjoy yourself. So, if you end up doing slow walks through parks, that’s also good. If you end up realizing you love biking and spend most of your summer biking every trail you can find, that’s also good. The idea is to just find something active you can do outside that will help you experience that. Exercise releases endorphins in your body, helping you to destress, helping you to feel energized, improving dopamine and therefore feeling positive, and helping you feel like you’re doing and experiencing something.
Humans are social creatures. So, if you’re trying to have fun, you should make sure you’re involving people. Whether that’s strangers at the volleyball court or your friends from high school shouldn’t matter too much. Of course, you do want them to be sober or to abstain from drinking around you – unless you’re far enough into sobriety that exposure doesn’t trigger a relapse. And, you want to be able to do things that everyone enjoys without alcohol. So, if your old friends aren’t interested in much besides the bar, you might want to find a new group that you can play (or watch) sports with, that you can go dancing with, or that you can engage in social activities with. If you’re in college, you’ll have even more options, because it’s relatively easy to join a chess club or a newspaper club or a rowing club to be introduced to people who like the same things you do – but classes and courses are the next best thing if you don’t have that.
Eventually, there are plenty of things you can do with your summer without drinking. That’s even true if you mostly like to go out and dance and enjoy the nightlife – although that will be more difficult if you live in a small town. Hopefully you can find things that make you feel good about yourself and that you can have fun with so you can enjoy your summer.
Asana Recovery is located in Orange County, California. and offers detox, residential, and outpatient addiction treatment services in our modern and comfortable addiction treatment facilities. Please contact us today to speak with one of our experienced addiction treatment team if you have any questions about our programs.