Sober Summer: Fun, Family, and Friends
One commonly heard refrain from people who have newly entered recovery is that they cannot imagine how to enjoy, or even participate in normal summer activities without having a substance close at hand. Indeed, alcohol has so permeated our culture that it is hard to find promotional material for warm-weather fun that doesn’t show people drinking. For people without substance misuse disorders, this doesn’t constitute an issue, but for those who need, or choose, to abstain, it can be hard to relearn how to revel in summer’s bounties while in recovery.
Remember your adventures?
Think back to summer vacation as a child. No matter how bleak your childhood may have been, there is usually at least one memory of summer joy that stands out: a trip to a water park, catching fireflies, watching fireworks, hiking and picnicking, or even just relaxing without the pressures of school. All of these activities appeal to adults as well! Other ideas for hot-weather happiness can be found in the goings-on you may have daydreamed about, but never tried, like riding roller coasters or going to a waterpark, tubing down a river, visiting the beach and swimming in the ocean, going to a boardwalk, and so forth. With the means that come from not spending excess funds on substance acquisition, you may be able to go on a vacation to a new and exciting destination or bring your new friends along for a day-trip.
If this is your first summer in recovery from a substance use disorder, you may not have accurate memories of healthy summer behaviors. Here is your official reminder to USE SUNSCREEN! You should also hydrate regularly and be conscious of issues like heatstroke. If you are on certain medications, you may need to avoid midday sun, so plan your fun in the morning or later afternoons. With some forethought and planning, not only will you have a terrific summer, but you will remember the events, people, and activities for years to come.
Once summer is over, you may feel the itch to return to school. If finances are a roadblock, consider applying for a scholarship from The Ammon Foundation. For more recovery-related topics and information, please visit our blog!