With Chicago’s summer right around the corner, everyone is gearing up for baseball games, barbecues, street festivals and long days at the beach or on the water. For those who are sober, this can sound like a nightmare instead of a holiday. The majority of summertime activities often include alcohol, but most recovering from alcohol or drug addiction seem to think they revolve around alcohol. Just because you don’t drink anymore, doesn't mean you can’t enjoy the many summer activities you’re accustomed to.
In early sobriety, it’s easy to be intimidated by the atmosphere of some of these events. Many of those in early recovery from addiction to alcohol or drugs wait some time before going into this type of atmosphere, which is wise. For those who are ready, these events and activities can sometimes feel overwhelming and intimidating. Achieving sobriety is not about not having fun; it’s about having fun and staying sober doing it. By putting a few plans in place, any recovering alcoholic or drug addicted person can go out and enjoy summer without having to avoid the best that summer has to offer.
Here are 4 healthy suggestions for staying sober and having fun this summer:
1. Go out with others in recovery: Find other recovering alcoholics to spend your time with; it’ll remind you that you’re not alone and will keep you from obsessing about drinking. Practice strength in numbers at these events and you will be sure to have a good time and stay sober.
2. Always communicate with others: We can’t always bring others with us; that’s when it’s important to reach out and let others in recovery know our plans. Going to an event alone and not feeling completely comfortable? Call someone beforehand and during. This brings a level of accountability we can’t always achieve on our own. Set up a schedule of different people you plan on calling throughout the event, just to “check in”. Stay in contact with others in recovery.
3. Prepare yourself: If you’re heading out of town, find meetings in the area beforehand. Make a list of meetings and commit to going to them when you have downtime. By having a list of meeting times and locations together before you leave, you won’t have to scramble at the last minute to find a meeting and it’ll keep you from not going to a meeting. It will also help you schedule your vacation so your sobriety has priority. Recently a New Hope alumni shared with us that the highlight of his trip last month was attending meetings. He realized there were caring sober people wherever he went.
4. Always have a backup plan: Before you go to an event or gathering, have a plan ready in case you begin to feel triggered and need to leave. Know ahead of time a safe place to go to and what you will tell others if you do leave. Never feel embarrassed or ashamed for leaving early, your sobriety always come first.
Whether you have 10 days or 10 years, sobriety in the summer can be a weird time for anyone in recovery. It’s important to take precautions, but it’s even more important to have fun. This time of year is a wonderful time to be clean, sober and recovering. There is no reason to spend these months hiding from the fun.
If you or a loved one is affected by addiction, please contact New Hope Recovery Center or call 888-707-4573.
Written by: New Hope Recovery Center
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