Summertime is on its way. It can be a wonderful time to spend with family and friends enjoying a wide variety of activities. 

If you are newly sober (or even if you have been in recovery for quite some time), it is important to pick your summertime fun with care—and to have a plan for avoiding any temptations or situations that might put your sobriety at risk.

Let’s take a look at some of the summer’s best activities and the ways in which you can enjoy them with your sobriety intact.

Make that Backyard Barbeque a B.Y.O.B. Bash

Getting together with friends to enjoy an evening outdoors in someone’s backyard is a classic summer tradition. Often, of course, alcohol or other substances are on offer at this sort of gathering, which can make them problematic for a person in recovery.

But you can manage them successfully if you have a plan. First and foremost, consider all of these events to be B.Y.O.B.—bring your own beverage. If you have your own can or bottle of soda or a bottle of ice cold water, you will be less likely to be tempted to pick up something you shouldn’t—and other people will be less likely to repeatedly ask you if you want something to drink.

You should also give yourself permission to leave a gathering if you start to become uncomfortable around alcohol or drugs. Your sobriety is far more important than any social gathering. If you are worried that your host might be offended, it might be worth it to give them a heads up before the party that you might have to leave early. You can explain why or not—depending on the nature of your relationship. Setting expectations in advance can help you avoid any awkwardness.

Choose Snacks Wisely When You Take Your Gang to the Old Ball Game

There is plenty of sports action to enjoy during the summer months—including lots and lots of baseball ranging from the Major Leagues to the sandlots. Heading out to the ballpark can be a wonderful summer activity, but a person in recovery needs a plan to handle the beer vendors who might be roaming the stands or to make good choices at the concession stand.

Sending a friend to grab the concessions is one way to avoid temptation—especially if you have a friend who is happy to drink soda or water rather than beer. Keeping your focus on the game (you could even keep score, which will keep your mind and hands occupied) is also a good strategy.

Remember that the key snacks for baseball—according to the song anyway—are peanuts and Cracker Jack. Stick with those and a cold beverage without alcohol, and you can enjoy the game while protecting your sobriety.

Get Out in Your Garden or Yard—and Get Creative

For many people, the idea of yardwork or gardening is pretty unappealing. It can seem like drudgery—and that’s no way to spend the precious summer months. But if you think of gardening or yard work as a hobby rather than a chore, you can reframe the experience while also protecting your sobriety.

Your garden or yard can be a place to indulge your creativity and add some beauty to your surroundings. Time spent pursuing a personal vision for how the environment around your home might look can be time that is not given over to worry and stress. Plus, time spent outdoors offers a range of benefits for your physical and mental health—which in turn supports your sobriety.

Working in the yard or the garden can, of course, be thirsty work. Make sure you have some cold water handy to keep you hydrated and to keep temptation at bay.

And to bring things full circle, the work you put in making things in the yard appealing might mean you are ready to host a summer barbeque at your place.

No Matter the Season, We Are Here to Help

When you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, it really does not matter what time of year it happens to be. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, you are dealing with the mental and physical harms caused by substance use disorders—and it may feel as though you have no way to escape from what you are going through.

Happily, however, help is available. At The Aviary Recovery—located near St. Louis, Missouri—we offer personalized treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. We provide medically supervised detoxification services, which means you can reclaim your sobriety in a safe environment free of temptations. We follow that up with a rehabilitation program designed to give you resources and confidence for maintaining your sobriety. And we provide a continuum of care to ensure you can start your recovery journey with confidence.

No matter the season, when you are ready to turn your life around, we are ready to help. And the best time to get started is always right now.