Staying sober can be a lifelong struggle, but certain times are harder than others, particularly if everyone around you is celebrating or partying. Summertime poses an interesting problem because you’d think all the sunshine and fresh air would be good for you – and that is true – but it’s also when many people have more free time and more get-togethers.
Think about commercials for outdoor activities. You can probably picture people fishing, camping, boating, grilling, swimming, and all manner of other things while drinking beer or harder alcohol. Many people look at summer vacations as an opportunity to relax, and drinking seems like an obvious way to further that goal. You can’t go to a baseball game without someone wandering up and down the stands every inning, shouting about beer. For that matter, the person next to you is likely to be drinking one, and you’ll have to smell it the entire time. Even weddings can be a trigger, especially if there’s an open bar.
On the other hand, some people might find summer more stressful and drink to cope. You suddenly have children home all day, every day. Often, your children’s friends are over, compounding the chaos. There are vacations to plan, with all of the logistical and financial planning that goes into them. Long car trips or flights can make even usually sedate people irritable.
Here are some things you can do to overcome temptation:
- Go out with sober friends or people you know from recovery, rather than people who are likely to drink.
- Take at least one person with you who will be supportive or have them available for a phone call if needed.
- If you’re leaving town, look up meeting times and places near where you’ll be staying, or search for an online group.
- If you find yourself hit with cravings while at a gathering, it’s perfectly okay to leave. Your health is the most important thing.
- Remember that you can have fun without alcohol. A day at the beach is still sun, surf, and sand when you’re drinking water instead of beer.
Take advantage of the nice weather and get some exercise. Try doing yoga or meditation on your porch or in a park. Go jogging, swimming, or even for a walk. Find a pick-up basketball game or a neighborhood softball team. Research has shown that just 30 minutes of activity four times a week can significantly lessen feelings of depression and anxiety, which in turn will decrease your chances of a relapse.
Try to focus on the positives. You love your children, even if they occasionally make you crazy. Enjoy spending time with them while you can. Get outdoors and connect with nature. If you’re a religious person, spending time outside can help remind you of the beauty in the world and your place in it.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.