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Group 401

Embracing Sobriety – How to Enjoy the Summer Months (and Your Life) Without Drinking

Multi Generation Family Enjoying Meal In Garden TogetherIt’s summertime in Western New York, but the living isn’t easy if you’re trying to get or stay sober. So many summer events seem to involve alcohol—barbecues, bonfires, beach parties—and magazines and commercials are bombarding you with headlines and suggestions for fun summer drinks.

It may seem like being sober in the sunny months is going to be dreary and boring. You may feel like you have to stay home to avoid temptation, or you may get nostalgic when you think of past events you’ve attended when you drank.

Remember that recovery is a learning process, and over time you’ll discover that it’s possible to have fun without alcohol.

Here are some suggestions for handling different summer social events:


Enjoying music outdoors is one of the best benefits of summer. The problem is, people tend to drink heavily at these events. You’ll see them and smell the alcohol. Go and enjoy the music, but be prepared for triggers and know what you’ll do to handle them. It’ll be a good idea to bring a sober friend or make sure your sponsor is only a phone call or text away. And concentrate on the music, the musicians, and the environment while you’re there. You’ll experience a different sort of enjoyment when you’re not drunk.

Work or Family Gatherings

Summer is a popular time for weddings, family and class reunions, and holiday parties (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day). Your employer may have company events that you have to attend, like golf outings or a baseball game. You know you’ll be surrounded by people who are drinking, and you may worry about being uncomfortable or not having fun—especially if in the past you relied on alcohol to relax in such settings. Stay close to people who are sober and remind yourself why you are choosing not to drink. And work on gaining confidence socially by accepting and “sitting with” the discomfort, then practice talking to a stranger. Sometimes just having a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand is enough to avoid the socially awkward questions about why you aren’t drinking.

Romantic Evenings

It may be hard to picture a candlelit dinner followed by a walk on the beach without the image of a bottle of wine or champagne on the table or in your hand. It’s such a major part of the stereotype—and of course in the past you may have enjoyed a drink or two over dinner or ended a romantic meal with an alcohol-laced coffee. Instead of drinking, focus on your date! Pay attention to that person and enjoy his or her company. Mind-altering substances would prohibit that. Promise yourself you’ll use the money you’re not spending on alcohol to splurge on a really good dinner or by visiting somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and creating new experiences.

If you’re looking for sobriety support in the summertime or any time, please call Horizon Health Services at 716.831.1800.