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How to Navigate Your First Sober Summer

When the temperature rises and the days are long, most of us get excited about all the fun that summer brings. The parties, poolside fun, backyard barbeques–there is so much to do while soaking up the sunny season.

While summer can bring fun in the sun, for people in recovery, it can be a little intimidating. Many of the parties and events that happen in the summer involve drinking alcohol. There are cocktails by the pool, beer at baseball games and backyard gatherings, and nights out at bars and beer gardens.

Navigating your first sober summer might feel like a challenge. You might feel like skipping the alcohol means missing out on summer fun. 

It doesn’t have to feel this way. Embracing your first sober summer means trying new things, making new memories, spending time with new people–and remembering it all. 

At the Mandala Healing Center, we know that staying sober for life takes commitment and support. That’s why we offer treatment programs and support for people in recovery. If you or someone you love needs addiction treatment or you want a little extra support while you navigate your sober summer, reach out to our specialists today. 

Planning for Your First Sober Summer

Some people love to plan out every minute of their summer to make sure they have time to do everything they need. Others have a more “go with the flow” approach to planning. No matter 

where you fall on this spectrum, it’s important to do a little planning for your first sober summer. 

You don’t need to plan every minute of every day, but it may be helpful to schedule recovery-related activities like 12-step meetings, counseling sessions, and medical check-ups. Keeping up with the activities that help you stay engaged and committed to sobriety can help you enjoy a sober summer while staying on track.

You may also want to plan or schedule specific events to look forward to. This might include throwing a sober barbeque, taking a trip, or exploring a nearby city. You could also spend some time trying out a new sport, activity, or hobby. Having fun things on your calendar can help you focus on what you’re gaining by embracing sobriety.

Staying Sober for the Summer: Know Your Triggers

Triggers are people, places, events, dates, or other circumstances that may cause a person to want to drink. Cravings can pop up unexpectedly, but people often have an idea of what specific situations are going to be triggering. 

Stress is a trigger for many people. Practicing regular, meaningful self-care is important as you navigate your first sober summer. Check in with yourself about your stress levels. Take care of your body by eating regularly, getting some exercise, and balancing activity and rest. 

While preparing for your sober summer, make a list of your triggers. Think about how you will manage them. In many cases, it is best to simply avoid triggers if you can–especially in the early days of recovery. For example, if you are invited to a party and you know everyone there will be drinking, it might be best to just skip it. 

If you absolutely have to be in a situation you know will be triggering, be as prepared as possible for it. Bring a sober buddy, take your own beverages, and check in with your counselor or sober coach before and after the event. 

Expecting the Unexpected During a Summer in Recovery

While you may know many of your triggers, you will likely face unexpected challenges. Learning how to cope with them at the moment is key to preventing relapse

Make an emergency plan for unexpected triggers. This may include:

  • Calling a friend or supportive family member
  • Leaving the event immediately
  • Attending daily (or regular) 12-step meetings, even while traveling
  • Finding a therapist or sober coach who is available for emergency calls

Having the ability to leave immediately is important in your first sober summer. If possible, don’t get into a situation where you have to rely on someone else to take you home or where you are unable to leave easily.

Remember the skills you learned in addiction treatment and therapy and be ready to use them. If you find yourself facing unexpected triggers regularly, it may be a sign that you would benefit from additional addiction treatment and support. 

Find Addiction Help for Yourself or a Loved One

Whether you are planning for your first summer in recovery or your tenth, you may need a little extra support during this season. The specialists at the Mandala Healing Center know that recovery is a lifelong process. That is why we offer a range of treatment programs and supportive services designed to empower people to live healthy, sober lifestyles at any stage of recovery.

For more information about the services we offer or how we can support you, reach out to our staff today.