Summer is the time for backyard barbecues and ballgames...and cold beer.
When all of the summertime activities seem to include drinking, it can feel like the world is conspiring against your sobriety.
Don't panic! You can safely navigate social gatherings that involve alcohol without losing sight of your sobriety.
Here are some tried-and-true tips for staying sober this summer, even when everyone around you is drinking.
7 Tips for Staying Sober
Getting sober is tough, staying sober is tougher. Using these tips will help you achieve your goal of sobriety without alienating you from all the fun summer gatherings.
1. Have Realistic Expectations
Going to a party and not drinking is going to be a challenge, especially if you are new to recovery.
Don't ever trick yourself into thinking that it's going to be easy. You'll set yourself up for failure if you aren't realistic about the amount of effort it's going to take.
Having realistic expectations in early alcohol recovery keeps you from getting frustrated by a lack of progress and helps you find success in recovery.
2. Stick With Your Plan
Your aftercare plan is a part of your addiction treatment for a reason. It provides you with the tools and support you need to maintain your sobriety.
As summer starts to ramp up and the invites for weddings and cookouts start to roll in, it's a great time to review your treatment plan.
Are you receiving counseling or therapy regularly? Are you consistently attending meetings? Are you maintaining healthy habits and schedules that you learned in treatment?
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, now is the time to recommit yourself to the plan.
3. Go to Extra AA Meetings
There's nothing wrong with going to additional meetings if they provide you with the help you need. Attend as many meetings as you need to stay on track with recovery.
If summer parties with friends, where everyone is drinking except you, is particularly hard for you, go to extra meetings. It'll keep you accountable.
AA will also provide you with literature and other resources to aid in your progress.
4. Find a New Role at Gatherings
Perhaps, before recovery, you felt like the life-of-the-party because you were drinking. Returning to a situation like that without redefining your role will leave you open for a slip-up.
Find a new role for yourself. Maybe now you're the life of the party because you handle the music or snap all the photos?
You should find other parts of the party that you enjoy that don't involve alcohol.
5. Have an Exit Strategy
It's okay to reach your breaking point and remove yourself from the party before you get in over your head.
Try to use some grace and tact as you excuse yourself, but ultimately you should not feel like you need to stay at any gathering that may derail your progress.
The people who know and love you will understand.
You Can Do It!
It seems daunting, but these tips for staying sober when everyone around you is drinking will help you stay the course for your recovery goals.
Don't jeopardize your progress by attending parties you can't handle yet. At the same time, don't skip out on fun times because you are afraid.
You can handle it. Make a plan, stick to the plan, and go enjoy some Wiffle ball at the 4th of July cookout!
Not yet to the point of maintaining sobriety? Check out these tips on how to get sober.