The spring and summer months can be particularly challenging for those seeking to stay sober. A cold beer or drink on a nice day can seem especially enticing. The reality is that there are plenty of sober activities to engage in over these months. It is an opportunity to discover the entire world that exists outside of the bar or a favorite “watering hole.” In the decades since alcoholism became widely recognized as a disease, evidence for alcohol-induced physical damage has accumulated both in quantity and in detail and through sobriety, it may be possible to enjoy these months in a more wholesome and complete way than ever before.
Know your triggers and be ready to say “no” when you are invited to a scenario that may result in a relapse. During the spring and summer months, staying in touch with your sober network is also critical. Be ready to pick up the phone to call your sponsor, a family member, or a friend if you are tempted to use it.
This analysis will provide 15 sober activities to engage in during the spring and summer seasons. Through Lantana Recovery’s Empowerment Program, clients are encouraged to take advantage of any of the following options as they grow into their new sober lives.
“Regardless of the pathway of recovery, there are key aspects that appear to aid sustained recovery. In grouping these according to the four S’s in Schlossberg’s Transition Process Model: self, situation, strategies and support, they seem to facilitate the adaptation to transition from addiction to sobriety” (Narrating the journey of sustained recovery from substance use disorder, Stokes et al., 2018.) Here are some of our suggestions:
1. Volunteer for a Non-profit
Volunteering is a great way to take the focus off the mess left behind by a former life marked by chronic alcohol or drug abuse. Helping others provides a wonderful emotional reward.
2. Play Golf
Golf provides a wonderful opportunity to get outside, be social, and experience that indescribable feeling of hitting the perfect shot. If you’ve never played before, consider taking a lesson, hitting the driving range, or going out on a local municipal course.
3. Hit the Beach
Get in the water on the beach, ride a wave, or meditate as you work on your tan. It’s tough to be depressed when you’re waterfront in the sun with some friends on a nice day.
4. Run a Race
Look for a local 5K race. Train for it and get a good sweat. The endorphins triggered will put a smile on your face.
5. Go to a Sporting Event
Is there a professional sporting team near you? Even if it’s just a minor-league baseball game, hanging out with friends at a sporting event can be a great way to have fun with members of your sober network.
Get away from the stress of life by exploring nature. If you’re particularly adventurous, consider camping. This will require you to plan meals, build a fire, use a compass, and utilize your intelligence to navigate unfamiliar terrain. The stargazing involved in the process will take your mind off of your traditional worries. It will also plunge you into the world of nature and self-reliance.
7. Have a Picnic
Get together with your sober network and make your favorite foods. Get your blanket, sunscreen, and picnic basket, and have a picnic in the park. This is a great way to experience the benefits of being in nature and enjoy the spring and summer sun.
8. Learn About Horticulture
Horticulture therapy is an evidence-based approach to mental wellness. Start by taking care of succulents, which are largely self-sufficient. Then transition to more challenging plants. There’s something uniquely satisfying about harvesting the fruits of your labor. Arugula and tomatoes are great options to consider. Imagine eating a delicious salad that you’ve grown on your own.
9. Enroll in a Fitness Class
A fitness class affords the opportunity to meet new people while also experiencing a sense of shared camaraderie. A class will also keep you accountable, resulting in better adherence to your fitness plan.
10. Go to a Concert
Concerts can be a place for drug and alcohol use. However, you can strengthen important friendships in your life by getting your groove on with members of your sober network. Attending a concert with people who can hold you accountable is a safe and fun way to enjoy live music.
11. Host a Game Night
Invite some friends over to play a board game. Instead of buying alcohol for the event, invest in some delicious snacks and sober drinks.
12. Buy an X-Box or Playstation
Escape the challenges of life by diving into the gaming world. Use the money you’ve saved on alcohol to invest in a gaming system. Consider playing games that challenge you cognitively, such as Civilization, Flight Simulator, or Starcraft.
13. Do Some Yoga
Mindfulness, a core tenet of yoga, is a proven method for building the capacity to overcome cravings, according to Addictive Behaviors. Consider attending a class or doing some basic breathing techniques and postures on your own.
14. Clean Your Living Space
Spring is the perfect time to do a cleaning. Physical clutter can impact the mind. Invite some family members over and enjoy the process of letting go of junk.
15. Draw a Portrait
Go to a beautiful spot in your neighborhood and draw a portrait. You’ll be able to take your mind off of the anxiety of life and grow your artistic side.
Lantana Recovery recognizes that the spring and summer months can be especially triggering for those trying to stay on track in their recovery. The good news is that there are a wide variety of sober activities that can provide more wholesome personal and social fulfillment than anything ever experienced with alcohol or drug use. Remember to be strategic about the events you attend. Saying “no” is acceptable when an event includes a potential trigger. From a beautiful sunset on the golf course to the sound of waves on the beach, sobriety can be amazing when you embrace it.