The Challenges of Staying Sober During the Summer

summer and sobriety
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Do you feel that it’s harder to maintain your sobriety in the summer? You are not alone. Summer can be a challenging time for people in recovery, as it’s a social time of year with many activities and things to do. The problem is that many summer activities involve alcohol. Whether it’s boating and bonfires or graduation parties and barbecues, many people celebrate with a cold beer.

Now that you are sober, you might be unsure of how to embrace the summer without jeopardizing your recovery. But you’re in luck. As individuals working on our own recoveries, we know what the summer months can feel like in Ohio. And we know how to get through them.

Why is Sobriety Harder During the Summer?

For some people, summer is a difficult time to maintain sobriety because of the increase in alcohol. Aside from December, people drink the most in the summer, probably because of the increased socialization during this time of year. Alcohol is often served at summer gatherings like barbecues, weddings, block parties and graduation celebrations.

But there are other triggers in the summer that you may not be aware of. For example, people who are struggling with eating disorders or mental health disorders may be anxious about wearing a swimming suit. Others are affected by things like high temperatures, FOMO, social pressures, extra time on their hands and lack of structure.

Summer depression is also a concern. While seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is more likely to affect people in the fall and winter, it can also cause symptoms in the spring and summer. However, rather than being lethargic and sad, people with summer depression tend to be anxious and irritable.

Navigating the Summer Months While Maintaining Sobriety

It can take time to get used to sober summers. If your summers were once centered around alcohol, you’ll need to start new traditions. This way, when summer rolls around, you’ll naturally look forward to these new activities.

Here are some tips for getting through the summer months without compromising your recovery.

  • Stay connected. You may not be able to hang out with your old friends anymore, but hopefully you have built a great support network through supportive friends, family and people from your support groups.

  • Create a relapse prevention plan. It’s important to know what your triggers are and how you will respond if you are faced with temptation over the summer. And, if you do venture out, have an exit plan in case you start to feel uncomfortable.

  • Avoid boredom. Keep yourself busy by getting involved in healthy activities. There are plenty of fun, sober activities you can do such as waterparks, hiking, local fairs and festivals, museums and gardening.

  • Limit time on social media. To decrease FOMO, limit your time on social media. Otherwise, you set yourself up to see what feels like everyone else having a great time.

Whether this is your first or fifth summer in recovery, you may find that you could benefit from additional support. If this is the case, contact Forward Health in Ohio. We have convenient outpatient programs that will provide you with support as you navigate the summer months. This way, you can embrace the summer while staying true to your recovery.