When we think of summer we often think of relaxation, days off from work, and time with friends and family. However, staying sober or continuing your moderation management plan through the summer months can be a challenge, even for those in long term recovery. Summer is often associated with pool parties, cook-outs, live music, and vacations by the pool. These can all be extremely risky situations for someone trying to stay sober or adhere to their moderation management plan for alcohol use. Keep in mind, all of your hard work can be compromised with just one slip-up. It is important to remember the benefits of staying sober in the summer and continue with your goal of sobriety or moderation, if appropriate. Tips to Stay Sober During the Summer:
- Know your limits and assess the level of risk in situations. Set a time limit for how long you plan to stay at a get-together with “easy outs” and a prepared excuse for leaving without having to feel obligated to stay and party for hours.
- Stick to the buddy plan. Make sure you have someone attend parties or events with you that knows your moderation management plan or knows you are in recovery. Someone such as a close friend, a sponsor, or a spouse can help keep you accountable and offer an out when things get too tough in risky situations.
- Go online and explore non-alcoholic refreshing cocktails, such as cucumber mint water or watermelon lemonade.
- Try out a new outdoor hobby like hiking, fishing, paddle boarding or even whitewater rafting. Getting outside in the fresh air and exercising can be exhilarating in the summer and having more daylight in the day frees up more time to get outside.
- Try using technology to your advantage. Explore sober apps on your phone such as such as Sober Grid, In The Rooms, Mood 24/7, Personal Zen, Also, you can set timers or alerts during events to remind you of your goals.
Angie Harris, MA, MSW, is a therapist with Insight Into Action Therapy. She enjoys helping people learn new tools to find balance in their lives. Angie is a Smart Recovery® facilitator and practices Harm Reduction and Moderation Management for Alcohol Use. She has worked in the field of addiction treatment in both outpatient and inpatient treatment settings and is a resource in treatment consultation. She provides individual, family and group therapy at the practice. If you are interested in seeking services, give her a call at (703) 646-7664, ext 10 or email her at [email protected]. If you are unsure if drinking is a problem in our life take the quiz here.