Sober Summertime!

Sober Summertime!

Sober Summertime!


By Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, LPC, AADC
This weekend is Memorial Day, which is the official start of Summertime activities. This particular Summer is also unique because many social events that had been canceled throughout the pandemic but are finally scheduled again. For those who may have tried to hide their substance use or used privately at home before or after an event, this may be an opportunity to feel that they will fit in with these party scenes. And for others, they may have increased their substance use privately over the past few years and may now be more public in their use.
In addition, we live in a technological age where video conferencing, social media, Apps and text messaging have become the norm in terms of communication. Many are out of “party practice” and social events may feel even more awkward for many after several years of minimal events and an increase in electronic communication. Given the opportunity for face-to-face interactions, many avoid the discomfort of talking socially to someone whom they don’t know by having a few drinks or other substances. Social events can be opportunities to connect with others, meet people, and to enjoy the moment, but when alcohol and substances are placed in the equation those possibilities may be lost.
For those trying to cut back on their drinking or are sober alcoholics, the summertime and the many celebrations that accompany it can be temptations. Many individuals report that the warm weather, the outdoor bars, family gatherings, vacations, the beach, sporting events, etc. can bring back memories of “the good ole’ days”.For those in early sobriety, they have a chance to replace their “hazy” using memories with new sober experiences. This can be a time of opportunities to gain confidence in social skills and to realize that a sober life can still be full of fulfillment- but now they can actually be in the moment and remember it.
The In-Home Addiction Treatment(IHAT) model allows the treatment team to support individuals in their home environment with the many challenges that this season may bring. The IHAT model can also wrap around those returning from residential treatment to a large increase in social events compared to the past few years.
Here are some tips for sober summertime fun!

  1. Set limits in terms of the amount of time spent in heavy drinking environments
  2. Bring along a friend or other loved one to a social function for additional support
  3. Choose not to attend events that would increase chances you may drink
  4. Leave the event early
  5. Be sure to have transportation options that will allow you to leave the event early if necessary
  6. Have a friend who you can call for support during the event and take a “time out”
  7. Avoid spending time with “toxic” relationships
  8. Practice stress reduction techniques during this time of year (ie, exercise, meditation, massage, etc.)
  9. Spend time with your friends in activities that would not involve alcohol
  10. Be honest about your emotions
  11. Avoid “people pleasing”, as this involves trying to keep other people happy while neglecting your own needs
  12. Let go of other’s expectations and opinions-If you have a healthy relationship, then they will respect your personal choices
  13. Engage in summer activities that you enjoy that do not involve alcohol and invite friends along

As the flowers bloom and Spring chill disappears, this can also be a time of change for those in the healthcare industry. The IHAT Institute is training those interested in learning about applying the IHAT model of care in a growing number of states including: CT, MA, NH, ME, RI, IN, VA, FL and now OH!

image credit: “Huntington Beach: Party” by John-Morgan is licensed under CC BY 2.0.



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