Navigating Summer in Recovery

Feb 13, 2024

Navigating Summer In Recovery Thrive Li Ny

As the summer kicks into high gear, it’s an amazing time to partake in tons of fun outdoor activities with friends and family. But to those who are in early recovery, experiencing the summer months in sobriety for the first time can also present many challenges.

When I first got sober, I found it hard to avoid certain events that had alcohol present. At the time, my daughters were very young and almost all of our friends drank recreationally. The weekends were usually filled with backyard barbeques, days at the beach or nights out at concerts drinking with friends.

Before I stopped drinking, almost everything I did revolved around alcohol.

With my newfound sobriety, there had to be a change in my lifestyle, but I didn’t know how to navigate that and I couldn’t expect anyone else to change on my behalf.

I remember I had about 90 days sober, and my wife and I had tickets to a concert with about twenty of our friends. We met everyone in the parking lot beforehand to “tailgate”. I had told very few people about my sobriety, and I hadn’t made a plan that would keep me comfortable and safe in case I found it hard to be around all the drinking. I had no idea how hard it would be. It felt like I was walking through a field of landmines.  I spent most of the night sitting in the stairwell on the phone with my 12-Step sponsor, trying to avoid the smell of beer and marijuana.

In hindsight I realized I wasn’t ready for something like that. Everybody’s recovery is different and very personal.  I didn’t yet have the sober references or the tools to keep myself safe.

Here are some of the things I have learned over the years that help make the summer easier to navigate in early sobriety.

  • First and foremost, always make sure someone you trust at the event knows that you are in recovery. Having support close by can be very comforting.
  • Research the event beforehand. Know before you go if there will be alcohol and more importantly, will there be non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Consider bringing your own beverage and letting the host know. Sometimes it helps to bring a special drink to help you feel festive. I hate to admit it, but I love a good Shirley Temple. It’s colorful and tastes sweet and most people won’t even know it’s non-alcoholic. Whatever it is, have fun with it.
  • Never put down your drink and if someone is serving you, make sure you double check that they didn’t add alcohol. I’ve taken sips of a drink that were supposed to have no alcohol and caught off guard when it does. If that does happen, don’t panic. Call a friend in recovery or tell someone you trust. Accidents will happen and it’s ok.
  • Lastly, develop a network of friends in recovery that plan sober gatherings. All the Thrive locations have recovery-based events, classes and workshops everyday of the week. The Thrive Everywhere program always has sober events out in the community. This summer we have sober social hour at The Cup Coffee house every Thursday. We just had a charter fishing trip and a big garden party with a Taco Truck. The best part is everything is always FREE.

Recovery is a beautiful thing. Support is all around us.

Make this summer the most memorable one yet!

-THRIVE Everywhere Recovery Coach, Jason Mayo