Summer can bring its own challenges for staying sober. As more people are getting vaccinated for COVID-19, summer activities are in full swing. However, outdoor activities generally involve alcohol and drugs as part of a “relaxing” atmosphere; this can be challenging for many people in recovery. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to enjoy the vibes and soak up some sun without stumbling in your sobriety.
Make Sober Plans
It’s essential in sobriety to make plans. You need something to look forward to. Incremental work toward a goal is slow and steady; it will help you develop patience and joy in the present. You’re not going to find quick solutions, but the fun is in discovery if you keep an open mind. There are all kinds of outdoor activities that don’t involve substances.
Get into something you haven’t thought of before. Such activities might include:
- Going to the local theater
- Attending music festivals
- Attending poetry readings, or book readings at the library or local cafe
- Get outdoors to fish, hike, or camp
You might even consider hosting events. Plan something special for friends or family. Look into family-friendly tabletop role-playing games or have a game night. You could also grill out or cook for your friends and family. When you host events, you can control the environment to make sure it’s drug and alcohol-free.
If you find yourself in a social setting where alcohol is present, or you can smell certain drugs in the air, make sure you have a friend or family member with you who knows you’re in recovery. Other people around will keep you accountable. You’ll be able to express frustration openly and honestly.
If you can pack your own beverages, then bring a different kind of tea or coffee in your thermos, something you’ll enjoy. Change the standard reference of what a good drink can be, and don’t forget to hydrate with water. You can also try new non-alcoholic drinks, iced teas, and coffees. You have the opportunity to expand your tastes now that you’re sober. Fruit and herbal teas without sugar can be a refreshing change.
Sobriety offers the chance to expand your knowledge of possibilities. You’re paying attention to your body, what you like and don’t like. Be adventurous; it’s good for you.
Take Advantage of Healthier Food Options
Sample unusual kinds of food. Check out the local farmer’s market or vegetables at the store. Mix it up with some spices and herbs. You can make any dish more exciting by adding interesting spices with the added bonus of vitamins and health advantages.
Further, trading recipes can help you build a friendship over something that isn’t alcohol or drugs. Make salads, eat mushrooms you’ve never tried, and research how to prepare them. If you’re feeling really brave, consider joining a foraging group. Group activities surrounding food can provide you the opportunity to be out in nature and socialize with others.
Look for Volunteer Opportunities
Serving others can help us maintain perspective. If you love dogs, then you should volunteer at a shelter. If you want to help feed the homeless, several organizations do just that. Get out of your own head and find a community of people who would benefit from your involvement.
You can also create something. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Train your mind to focus on a project. Build an outdoor bench if you want to try woodworking. Write a song. If you have kids (or even if you don’t), consider a cheap and easy activity like paper mache. Do something to gain a sense of accomplishment, however small. Have a childlike sense of wonder about the world.
If you have a yard, consider gardening, or if you don’t, buying a houseplant. Gardening has numerous health benefits. Touching soil can increase serotonin, and plants improve air quality. Caring for plants can teach you responsibility and mindfulness. Gardening also helps reduce depression, anxiety, and stress.
The act of gardening doesn’t need to be expensive. You can use egg cartons or jars for seeds. Grow indoors first, or plant some wildflower seeds outdoors. It’s satisfying and relaxing to watch something take shape, and it’s an excellent metaphor for personal growth. Don’t get discouraged; you can always try another technique, do some research, and learn about life cycles.
Carve out time for yourself. Summer days are longer and offer a chance to meditate outside. Do some yoga or stretching. Engage in the simple act of breathing. Keep up with your journal writing. Plan out a sobriety tattoo. Imagine where you’ll be in a year. Take these days as a gift, an opportunity to dream.
Summer is in full swing. However, with summer activities also comes alcohol and drugs. For those in recovery, this can be challenging. Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice your sobriety to have fun this summer. There are many activities you can enjoy by yourself or with others to take full advantage of the warm days. You don’t need to maintain your sobriety alone; let Renaissance Ranch offer suggestions to keep you dedicated to your new path in life. Spend time with people who know what you’re dealing with, like our Band of Brothers alumni program. Sobriety happens one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. Remember, now that you are sober, you have options. There is always someone at Renaissance Ranch to help you get through it, and they’re just a phone call away. If you feel you need extra support, call Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898.