Summer can be a difficult time for sobriety. BBQs, lounging at the beach, many of those typical fun summer activities are easily associated with alcohol. We talk quite a bit about how things like stress, anger etc. can be triggers for relapse but often more positive feelings and experiences don’t get talked about as much, (even though they can be equally triggering). This is unfortunate, because like with all triggering situations, if we don’t prepare for them and work to build the skills we need to handle them in new more effective ways, we are much more likely to relapse.
So what are some good things to be thinking about when it comes to staying sober (particularly from alcohol)? The first thing that comes to mind for me is the idea of knowing your crowd. When you are invited to that BBQ or whatever the event is, it can be helpful to think about what you know about who will be there and what the environment will be like. Is this event likely going to be one where people will pressure you to drink? Will there be a lot of alcohol around? Are the other people at the event likely to drink to excess? You may not know all these answers of course, but you probably can get a sense of what the environment will be like. Using that information to help you decide whether you feel comfortable attending or not can be incredibly helpful.
Secondly, it’s really important to know where your areas of struggle are. If you know that summer block party has always been a heavy drinking event for you, and your buddies you go with would pressure you to drink for example, then maybe it’s a good idea to decline the invite this year. Being able to recognize when these situations may be more of a challenge then we are ready for, at least at this point in our sobriety, really helps with staying sober long term.
Questions about staying sober during summer or anything else sobriety related? Feel free to get in touch!