For people in recovery, summertime can yield obvious seasonal challenges; still it is possible and fulfilling to spend the summer days and nights happily sober. Use the summer months to deepen your recovery, explore new opportunities and engage in fun activities that improve your well-being, your relationships and your community. Remember, if you are not having fun in recovery, you are doing it wrong.
1.Embrace the Lifestyle
The recovery community is very active during the summer months. From conventions to local social events, organizations like AA and NA provide a variety of fun sober activities. Dive into your recovery by engaging in local sober events and making new friends that enhance your recovery. Host a sober cookout for your friends in recovery, or pack up the car for a road trip to a sober festival. Create some new summer traditions for yourself, friends and family. Plan a day with sober friends at a pool or water park.
2. Fuel Your Fitness
Is that diet and gym routine still on your to-do list? Why wait for January? Summer is the perfect time to develop an active lifestyle, to play outside and relish a diet full of fresh fruits and veggies. Start with a healthy eating and nutrition plan that will fuel your fitness – and recovery – success. Read our tips on how to “Feed Your Success.” Frequently, sober organizations plan 5Ks and other fitness challenges during the summer. You can help raise money for treatment and recovery while getting fit.
3. Clear the Clutter
Summer is the perfect time to simplify your life. Stay out of the heat and clear out the clutter from your mind – and your closet. Make a manageable schedule for the summer and stick to scheduled days and times for washing the car, cleaning out the garage and fridge, organizing your closets. Include deliveries of your unwanted items to local charities or host a garage sale and make some extra cash.
4. Read and Relax
Put the phone down and turn off the TV. Put up a hammock in the backyard. Create a reading nook where you can relax and read a good book. Integrate reading into your summertime schedule. Join a book club to deepen the experience. Be sure to include inspirational and motivational books in the mix.
5. Unleash Your Creativity
Use the summer as an inspiration for creative pursuits. Get crafty with summer themed DIY projects. Try your hand at painting or photography, write short stories or poetry, take a class – artistic expression is a productive way to spend the summer. You may find a hidden talent. Share your creative pursuits with others.
6. Get Sporty
Summer sports leagues are everywhere and many offer sober teams. Put together or join a sober softball, volleyball or kickball team. Hone your stroke at the driving range and participate in a golf tournament to raise money for treatment or recovery organizations. Sail or kayak around your local lake, strengthen your swimming skills, ride your bike on a picturesque trail or around town. Whether solo or on a team, sport activities are a fantastic way to spend the summer.
7. Develop a Hobby
Developing a new skill or engaging in a new healthy hobby can expand your mind and your sober network. Summer is the perfect time to learn a variety of hobbies. Experiment with a raised vegetable garden or learn how to fish. Grab a bird book and a pair of binoculars, checkout a woodworking class or master a French recipe, new language or instrument – each will enhance your summer fun and recovery.
8. Dive Deep
As the summer sun shines, the flowers bloom and the birds chirp away, empower your recovery by starting with a meditation practice focused on gratitude. Begin your day in gratitude. Reserve five minutes each morning to offer appreciation. Keep it simple or more profound, but make sure to start each morning in thankfulness and set the tone for the day. As you build your routine, expand your meditation practice.
9. Strengthen Relationships
Breathe fresh air into your relationships this summer. If needed, have those tough conversations, then commit to building a new foundation of kind, constant and honest communication. Show appreciation for the people you love through random acts of kindness. Be present in the time you spend and make sure your loved ones know what they mean to you.
10. Deepen Your Spirituality
Through meditation and mindfulness, you will strengthen your spirituality and connection to your higher power. Fold in additional practices such as attending church services, engaging in church or spiritual activities, praying, connecting with fellow churchgoers, reading inspirational, spiritual books and affirmations and integrating spirituality into your interactions and relationships.
Remember that recovery provides the opportunity to enhance your summer experience in entertaining, powerful and hopeful ways. Make every effort to leverage your ongoing support community and recovery plan. It will empower you to have some summer fun while staying focused on your recovery journey and avoiding relapse.