5 Tips for Staying Sober This Summer
A strange thing happens when we get sober. We see alcohol everywhere. We notice its presence in the real world – at every dinner table at every restaurant – and in the fictional world – on every TV show and movie. So, when summer comes around, we’re likely to be even more aware of alcohol’s ever-present nature.
Now, we’re looking at pool parties, barbecues, and weekends at the beach or lake. And, in most hands, there will be a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. Just because alcohol is everywhere doesn’t mean we have to succumb to its pervasive presence.
In truth, summer is the best time to get and stay sober. Now’s the time to fill our days with meaningful activities. In fact, the temptation can be lower to sit home on the couch and pop open a bottle of wine.
Here are some of the best tips that’ll help you not only endure but enjoy a sober summer.
1. Bring Your Own Drink
If you’re going to a barbecue or a pool party, bring your own drink. Avoid the temptation to walk up to the bar and sniff all those cocktails. Instead, bring a couple of cans of fizzy water.
Take one of those infamous red solo cups from the house, but fill it with your own drink. A lot of sober folks love La Croix. It comes in so many different flavors and it’s sugar-free. Or, you can go with a good ol’ fashioned bottle of Pellegrino and refill as you go.
With a drink in hand, people are less likely to push an alcoholic beverage on you. Now, you’re positioned to give a little, “I’m good. I already have one,” whenever someone says you simply must try one of their alcoholic concoctions.
2. Have an Exit Plan
If you have a few summer parties on the docket, enter with an exit strategy. Alcohol is pervasive and, for some, the longer they’re exposed to it, the greater the temptation. The lie that you can just have one might start to creep into your mind. But, you know how that goes… One turns into twenty-one.
So, when/if the temptation arises during a party, have an exit strategy in place. Set a two or three-hour time limit and stay true to it. Tell the host you have some work to finish up or an early morning.
There’s nothing wrong with developing a little air of mystery about yourself. Also, you don’t have to shut down every party like the (not) good ol’ days.
3. Find a New Activity
Since everyone’s coming out of hibernation, now’s the time to try something new. Facebook, Couchsurfing and Meetup make it so easy to get out there and join a new club.
Search for a local volleyball team, a book club, a group of people training for a 5k, etc. Whatever you’re into, now’s the time to check it out.
New activities are the key to staying sober. Instead of heading to the local bar or sitting home and drinking all weekend, you’ll have something exciting to look forward to. Be a regular at whatever you join. This will get you out and hold you accountable so you don’t make any excuses not to go.
4. Be Prepared to Say, “I Don’t Drink”
What’s one of the first things people do when you walk into their house? They offer you a drink.
Be prepared to ask for some water or soda. People aren’t as curious about the fact that you don’t drink as you think. Be prepared to ask for something non-alcoholic and, if they pry, simply say, “I don’t drink.” You can leave it at that; it’s that simple.
If they’re really pushing the envelope of nosiness, mention you have to drive or you have an early morning. Tell them about that new activity you’re involved in if it requires early morning meetups.
The people who try to strong-arm others to drink are usually the ones with a drinking problem themselves.
5. Avoid Triggers
If you used to overdrink every summer down at the boardwalk, skip that trip this summer.
It’s okay to avoid triggers. You’re not missing out on anything. Rather, you’re opening the door to new things by fighting to stay sober. Instead of heading down to the boardwalk, see if you can find an additional volleyball team on Meetup, or find something entirely new.
Stay close to your sober friends. Ask them to go check out that new coffee shop in town or go for a run.
Plan your own summer barbecue and make a punch bowl full of lemonade. That puts the control back in your court.
Make This Your Best Sober Summer
Sobriety is nothing to be ashamed of. Own it and take care of your personal health first and foremost. Take it from a 43-year old family man who quit drinking for good without AA, rehab, or willpower. It is possible. And you will love yourself for putting down the drink.
I host free webinars where I share tips for getting and staying sober. The pathway to sobriety is different for everyone but if you can pick up a tip or two, it’s another tool in your toolkit to sobriety.
You might think of summer and reminisce about all those mojitos and margaritas. But, truth be told, a sober summer is going to offer healthy new memories that you’ll cherish forever.
Join our virtual community of sober warriors who are making something of the void alcohol used to fill. Wake up tomorrow clear-headed and ready to take on the world.