One of the biggest misconceptions regarding sobriety or recovery from addiction and alcoholism is that those individuals in recovery must completely change their lives or their social activities in order to stay sober and enjoy sobriety. While it is true that the initial process of early recovery requires much change, the truth is that for individuals in recovery, what they enjoyed before sobriety can be enjoyed after finding recovery.
There is, however, a caveat to that truth. Or, at least, some things to consider. First, if someone’s fun and enjoyment come from only drug-related social interactions, or their friend group and social circles are only others that also have substance use disorder issues or addiction problems, it is important that those things change. There is also something to be said for individuals that need to learn or relearn what it’s like to be able to have fun without drugs and alcohol. For anyone in early recovery, there is a process regarding learning to love themselves and be comfortable sober, and then finding out what they like to do without drugs and alcohol. For some, they learn that there are a number of activities that enjoy doing that they didn’t do when they were in active addiction. However, for others, they learn that the things they did for fun while using drugs and alcohol are still fun and enjoyable, and that once feeling comfortable sober, they can continue to engage in those activities.
With summer here and the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly under control, people are beginning to feel comfortable going out again and interacting socially. Which means that people in recovery will be doing the same. So how can individuals in recovery reenter the world and enjoy a sober summer? The simple answer is making sure that they are strong in their personal recovery program and feel comfortable sober, and then just doing the things that they enjoy doing.
Here are some examples of fun sober summer activities:
- Cookouts and BBQs
- Vacations with friends and family
- Day trips to amusement parks
- Engaging in sports, athletics, and fitness activities
- Relaxing activities like hanging out with friends at a pool
- Going to the movies
- Going out to eat with friends and family
- Engaging in recovery activities and events
- Learning a new skill, hobby, or trade
Simply put, whatever a person in recovery enjoys doing is what they should do for fun, of course making sure that they are engaging in those activities with friends and family members that are good sober supports and are positive influences.
For individuals in early recovery, this sober summer will be a good opportunity to learn what they like to do for fun. A good suggestion if they don’t know, is to create close bonds and friendships with others in recovery with more time and accompanying them to activities and social outings. It will be a good learning experience for those in early recovery this summer to possibly learn new ways of having fun, taking up new hobbies, and engaging in activities that they might have not doing previously due to active drug and alcohol use. Another important point is to avoid certain social activities that can no doubt be a direct stressor in terms of recovery. As an example, if a young adult in early recovery used to enjoy going out drinking at night at bars for fun, it might be best to avoid that in early recovery. Rather than go out to a bar with college friends, find friends in recovery and hang out with them in places that are fun and enjoyable.
There is no magic bullet for what a person in recovery can or cannot do or should and should not do in regard to having fun this summer. What is important is that they find a strong foundation of recovery and friends in recovery or friends and family that are supportive of recovery and engage in the things that are fun and bring them joy. As the weather is hot and society emerges from the isolation and disconnection of the coronavirus pandemic, it is a good time to do things that that might have not been possible in active addiction, or even things unavailable over the last year and a half due to COVID-19.
Go out. Have fun. Enjoy life. A sober summer is always a wonderful time to enjoy yourself and make memories with friends and family that will last a lifetime.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our website at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.