5 Ways to Survive the Summer…Sober
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5 Ways to Survive the Summer…Sober


This post was originally published on May 14, 2014.

Summer is a fantastic season—for many people, it’s their favorite season. The sun, the heat, the sundresses, the beach vacations, the al fresco chips & salsa accompanied by a tall pitcher of margaritas…Wait, no. Scratch that last one. Ugh, I know—the notion of summer without drinks in the park somehow feels almost impossibly daunting. It doesn’t have to be, though.

Here are some ways to stay sober while also, hopefully, managing to have a little bit of fun in the process.

1) Plan trips with sober friends

One of the greatest things about summertime is its focus on relaxation, travel and all-around fun. Wishing you could decamp to some breezy beach town to lie around and drink daiquiris all day? Us too. Alas, the daiquiri thing will have to wait (though cocktails can be equally delicious when they’re virgin, seriously). In the meantime, why don’t you start to plan a fun summer getaway with a similarly sober buddy (or more than one buddy)? Go in on a beach house a few states away, or just go on a day trip to the lake the next town over. Keeping your days busy with fun, active things that don’t revolve around drinking is a must!

2) Have an exit plan

You’ll probably be invited to at least a couple of events this summer where alcohol will be served; it might even be highlighted as one of the event’s main features (think outdoor BBQs, birthday parties, wine tastings, weddings). If you feel the need or desire to go to any of these sort of events, try to have a plan in place beforehand. If you don’t have a car, check to see about public transport. If you have a car, be sure to drive yourself there so you can leave at any time if things get uncomfortable or you’re feeling too tempted. And bring a sober friend with you to help make you feel less awkward and conspicuous!

3) Have a (non-alcoholic) drink in your hand at all times

This is one I pretty much adhere to constantly, without even thinking about it! (I’m a generally thirsty person, so there’s that.) At awkward social events, having a glass of soda or juice or club soda can really work wonders in helping you feel less out of place or obvious. It just helps soothe the nerves—like a nice, fuzzy  little security blanket. If anyone asks what you’re drinking, tell them without making a big deal out of it. (None of their business, anyway.)

4) Go to meetings if you’re into that kinda thing

Getting outside support is crucial to maintaining your sobriety. Going it completely alone isn’t just alienating, it’s also potentially sobriety-threatening. It’s important to have at least a few like-minded peeps around you—people you can speak candidly with about your struggles, fears and temptations. People you can turn to when your friend shoves a glass of champagne in your face without thinking about it. Ugh. But yeah, 12-step meetings are good for fostering social support. Try it or increase your weekly meeting count if you’re already going regularly.

5) Get Some Sleep

Getting sufficient rest and relaxation is a necessity for any alcoholic or addict (it’s necessary for everyone, duh, but it’s arguably even more necessary for us!). What better time than summer to try to make that happen? Take naps. If you can, squeeze in a little more sleep by setting your alarm for 20 minutes later every day. Getting an extra hour or two per night can really help feel content, focused and sobriety-strong. Do it for your sanity!

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About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and CNN.com. Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.