With summer in full swing, what are you going to do with yourself? For the newly sober with this new life, it may be hard to imagine there is a world of fun out there that doesn’t involve drinking or substances. Thankfully, there are millions of ways to enjoy the best of what summer has to offer while staying clean and sober. Here are six to get you going….
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can have a significant impact. Spending time outside positively impacts overall health and feelings of well-being. There are so many options for every fitness level and personality type that you’d be hard-pressed not to find something to like. Hiking, mountain biking, tubing down the river—most of these cost little-to-no money. They are also readily accessible, and offer easy, clean and sober ways to hang with friends.
If the sun gets to be too much, night hikes and swimming offer a special magic all their own. Let’s be honest, most of us haven’t seen the stars in a while; getting out and appreciating the world’s beauty can be really helpful as we learn how to enjoy life without drinking or using.
When in doubt, throw something on the grill. Eating together is a great social activity that doesn’t need to involve booze.
Inviting people over for a grill-and-chill is a low-cost, low-pressure way to connect and have fun. Also, sprucing up the occasion with refreshing non-alcoholic drinks is proof that you can have a party without alcohol. Throw in some games like cornhole, badminton, or horseshoes and you’re sure to be entertained—even if only by your lack of skill at said games.
Did someone say road trip? This all-time summer classic never fails. Make a playlist, get a pal, and hit the road. Thankfully, there are some excellent options nearby that are just far enough away to feel trip-worthy: Sedona, Flagstaff, and San Diego all make the top of our list. Road trips offer a great way to reconnect with a sense of wonder and adventure. It also gives you lots of time for thoughtful reflection while gazing at the gorgeous passing scenery.
Isn’t it time you picked up that new skill you’ve been thinking about? Yoga, rock climbing, gardening, outdoor survival, photography – the lazy days of summer are a great time to explore a new interest. Starting with a low-key group course, or just experimenting on your own are great ways to give your days a sense of purpose. These activities will also help fill hours that might have been spent partying (or recovering).
Even if you think your rock-and-roll days are through, getting out to see some music can be inspiring and exhilarating. What’s better than sitting outside with friends, listening to a band you love? This is another day-to-night activity that can help you feel like you are still connected to the social life of this world, even though you aren’t drinking.
Having something to focus on (i.e. the music) can take the pressure off socializing and give you practice making small talk in a low-key environment. Bring something non-alcoholic to drink and let friends know you aren’t partaking. Most importantly, know when enough is enough and it’s time to go.
Explore Your City
It doesn’t always need to be big to be fun. Sometimes noticing the small wonders all around you can be enough to lift your spirits and fill your day. Try taking yourself on a micro-adventure around your area to explore something you haven’t checked out before. A cool independent bookstore, a new cafe, or maybe just a local hiking spot can be the ticket to a surprisingly good day.
Whatever you get up to, the main point is to remember that getting sober isn’t the end. It’s just the beginning of your new life. If living in recovery was boring, lonely, and unsatisfying, who want to do it? It may take some time to get used to being back out in the world—or finding basic activities even mildly entertaining—but it happens. The new life promises to be much better than the old.