Now that summer’s finally here, what are you going to do with yourself? Luckily, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the best of what summer has to offer while staying clean and sober. Here is some inspiration…
Get out there
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can have a significant impact on overall health and feelings of wellbeing. There so many options for every fitness level and personality type that it is almost impossible not to find one you like! Hiking, mountain biking, tubing down the river—most of these cost little-to-no money, are readily accessible, and offer easy, sober ways to hang with friends.
And if the sun gets to be too much, night hikes and swimming offer a special magic all their own. Let’s be honest, most of us haven’t seen the stars in a while; getting out and appreciating the world’s beauty can be really helpful as we learn how to enjoy life without drinking or using.
When in doubt, eating together is a great social activity that doesn’t need to involve booze. Inviting people over for a grill-and-chill is a low-cost, low-pressure way to connect and have fun with people. Also, sprucing up the occasion with refreshing non-alcoholic drinks is proof that you can have a party without alcohol. Throw in some games like cornhole, badminton or horseshoes and you’re sure to be entertained—even if only by your lack of skill at said games.
This all-time summer classic is a sure win. Make a playlist, get a pal, and hit the road. Thankfully, there are some excellent options nearby that are just far enough away to feel trip-worthy: Sedona, Flagstaff, and San Diego all make the top of our list. Road trips offer a great way to re-connect with a sense of wonder and adventure, and give you lots of time for thoughtful reflection while gazing at gorgeous scenery.
Isn’t it time you picked up that new skill you’ve been thinking about for so long? Yoga, rock climbing, gardening, outdoor survival, photography – the lazy days of summer are a great time to explore a new interest. Starting out with a low-key group course, or just experimenting on your own are great ways to give your days a sense of purpose and help fill hours that might have been spent partying (or recovering).
Music Festivals – Even if you think your rock-and-roll days are through, getting out to see some music can be inspiring and exhilarating. What’s better than sitting in the grass with friends, listening to a band you love? This is another day-to-night activity that can help you feel like you are still connected to the social life of this world, even though you aren’t drinking. Having something to focus on (i.e. the music) can take the pressure off socializing and give you practice making small talk in a low-key environment. Bring something non-alcoholic to drink and let friends know you aren’t partaking. Most importantly, know when enough is enough and it’s time to go.
Whatever you get up to, the main point is to remember that getting sober isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning. If living in recovery was boring, lonely and unsatisfying, who want to do it? It may take some time to get used to being back out in the world—or finding basic activities even mildly entertaining—but it happens. The new life promises to be much better than the old.