Summer is in full swing with barbecues, music festivals and pool parties. For those in recovery, finding activities free of triggers and peer pressure can at times be challenging. But, you don't have to miss out on the summer fun now that you are sober.
Here's to making new memories and summer traditions that honor your sobriety. Here are 6 fun sober activities to enjoy during the summer.
No special equipment is needed—just a sturdy pair of shoes, some snacks and a water bottle. Explore your local trails or venture off in search of new ones. Fresh air and exercise will help clear your mind. Hiking is a fun and healthy activity that can be done solo, with man's best friend or in a group.
It's nice to escape into nature and disconnect from technology, but don't leave your cell phone behind. Tuck it in your pocket in case of an emergency and let a friend or family member know where you're going, especially on longer hikes.
2. Sober Book/Film Club
Gather some friends and share your love of literature and movies! Choose a book, a film or both and decide where and how often you will meet. Host a themed dinner or serve snacks and appetizers based on the book, or throw a barbecue with trivia and games.
It can be fun to read a book that has been adapted for the screen and then watch the film together. My book club is currently reading, "The Art of Racing in the Rain" in anticipation of the upcoming adapted film release. We'll meet as a group at the theatre and go to dinner afterwards to discuss the film and the best parts of the book that didn't make it into the movie.
3. Try a Staycation
Staycations can be as simple as an afternoon visit to the spa or a road trip in search of a scenic campground or five-star hotel. I prefer the hotel, otherwise known as "glamping."
The best thing about a staycation is that it can be whatever you want it to be. A change of scenery is relaxing and always invites a fresh perspective. Bring a journal, update your recovery goals, find a new 12-step meeting or chat with new sober friends.
Consult with your local visitor's bureau and be a tourist in your own city. Discover new restaurants, check Yelp reviews and see which places the locals and visitors are raving about in your city. Rent a bike or scooter, people watch, engage with tourists and give them your insider tips. The possibilities are endless, and I believe a few of those possibilities include eating ice cream.
There is no better way to get outside of yourself than joining with others in your community for a great cause. Your help may be needed to refurbish a playground for kids, plant shrubs in a neighborhood park or visit your elderly community members and help them with chores.
Whatever venue you choose to volunteer, the experience will be as diverse as you are. You will feed your soul with the satisfaction of giving back, sharing the gift of your skills with others and knowing you made a difference in the lives of others.
Check with your community representatives for one-time or ongoing volunteer opportunities or get matched up based on your interests or skill set.
5. Evenings Outside
Endless activities await you on warm summer evenings. You can enjoy concerts in the park, guided art walks, salsa classes and much more. Remember the retro drive-in movies? There are a few left, as well as rooftop cinemas and some outdoor pools offer "dive-ins."
Host a backyard bonfire and invite your neighbors over for smores, pitch a tent and share spooky stories with your friends and family. Lie beneath the stars or stargaze with a telescope.
Remember how carefree and endless summers were as a child? Catch fireflies in a jar, be a kid again and recapture the true joy of summer.
6. Enjoy Your Own Company
Do absolutely nothing without feeling guilty for making time for yourself. Solo time is essential for recharging your batteries and protecting your sobriety. Turn off your phone, nix social media, go for long walks, meditate, lounge at the beach or on a hammock. Get to know your sober self again and revisit goals for your future. Check-in with your sponsor if necessary.
Make a summer playlist, journal, go clam digging, try a DIY project or learn a new recipe. Go berry picking or take a trip to the farmer's market and make some delicious and healthy treats for yourself. Take longs naps and hot baths. Soak in the summer sun and count your blessings.