The summer months can sometimes be a challenge for people in early recovery. Memories of substance-infused parties, concerts, and family gatherings may temporarily gloss over the harsh realities of the substance use disorder you have left behind. Maintaining recovery during the summer will depend on continuing the proven actions that have gotten you this far, such as remaining connected to your sober support network and keeping up with outpatient therapy sessions.
Over and above those continuing care essentials, it is vital to sustain recovery through fun and fulfilling activities that bring you a sense of joy. Summertime offers a perfect backdrop for conjuring up your own unique imagining of a joy-filled, and sober, summer season. So, go ahead and stretch your imagination a bit; time to calendar some amazing summer activities that are sure to put a big smile on your face.
8 Summer Activities that Support Sober Living
Even with the current physical distancing policies in place there remain plenty of great opportunities for enjoying some sober summer fun. Staying connected and active are two critical actions for sustaining recovery. Create a list of ideas that you can plan for and look forward to. Here are 8 sober activities to consider this summer:
1. Enjoy the water.
If you have access to a body of water—a lake, a river, or the ocean—there is an abundance of fun activities to explore. So, grab some sunscreen and a swimsuit and consider any of these:
- Learn how to surf or body surf
- Take up stand-up paddleboarding
- Try kayaking or canoeing
- Go river rafting
2. Rent an electric bike.
Electric bikes are a boon for taking bike trips between two destinations that happen to include a hilly landscape. Plan a scenic E-bike day trip with some friends, meeting up first for a cold brew coffee before hitting the road. E-bikes offer people of all ages an opportunity to enjoy the sights with minimal exertion, so hop on and get moving.
3. Plan a barbeque.
Some summer staples just cannot be beat, and one of those is sober summer barbequing. Stake out a roomy park area for plenty of physical distancing and set up a couple of easy-ups for sun protection. Invite friends and family from your sober support network to bring their tastiest dishes, and serve an array of refreshing alcohol-free beverages to keep everyone well hydrated. Set up horseshoes and other outdoor games, and don’t forget the Bocce ball set!
4. Set up an outdoor movie.
Even with theatres currently off limits, you can still enjoy a summer movie night with friends. Go in together on a video projector rental and outdoor screen and host a movie in your own backyard. Invite friends to bring snacks or have some pizza delivered. Set up some beach chairs and blankets and enjoy a favorite flick together.
5. Go camping.
Campsites are still open this summer, so call and make a reservation—or put yourself on the cancellation list. Camping is always fun during the summer months when you can comfortably sleep under the stars. Plan a weekend camping trip with the family or some sober friends. Grab a tent and some firewood (don’t forget the marshmallows!) and enjoy becoming one with nature.
6. Start a hiking club.
Invite some sober friends to join you on a series of hikes. Plan on exploring a different hiking trail together each week. Hiking is both a social and solitary activity, allowing for conversation, yet plenty of time to just quietly ponder the beauty of nature and pray. Locate some local trails, or caravan to a neighboring region to check out new ones…and bring plenty of water.
7. Stoke your passions.
Not every sober summer activity needs to be a social one. Sometimes, just spending some quiet time to pursue a new (or renewed) interest is extremely fulfilling. For example, summer is the perfect time to take up plein air painting, where you can capture the different lighting effects while you compose a beautiful landscape on your canvas.
8. Take up photography.
Having a decent camera built right into our smartphones makes taking up photography a fun, and free, hobby. For those with loftier ambitions, investing in a digital SLR is well worth the expense. Plan some day trips where you can explore the terrain with your camera. You will be amazed at all the things you might have otherwise overlooked when you are out and about with a camera.
As you open up to all the fun possibilities available this summer, you will truly appreciate your sobriety. In fact, life is pretty amazing when you feel good. Enjoy the balance of the summer knowing that your recovery is prioritized and protected.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer both inpatient and outpatient programs, holistic addiction treatment, drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to heal each individual with respect and dignity, and reflects on our ongoing commitment to meet new challenges. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.