3 Ways to Enjoy an Alcohol-Free Summer

May 23, 2014

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Completing an addiction treatment program is a feat worth celebrating, but that means that people with histories of substance abuse must be careful about how they choose to commemorate the occasion. They may have an instinctive reaction to revert back to their old habits of drinking and consuming drugs, but this is not the only way to enjoy a party or have fun with friends.

Especially as the summer brings better weather, cutting alcohol from parties may raise some eyebrows from friends and family, but there is no reason why those in recovery cannot participate in beach barbecues or backyard soirees. In fact, abstaining from alcohol may be the best way to reconnect with friends and family members. Though some people may think that they need alcohol to enjoy social gatherings, following these three simple suggestions can lead to a summer full of fun – and devoid of alcohol.

1. Celebrate Privately

Right after completing an addiction treatment program, people with substance abuse issues may not be ready for a beach blowout. However, this does not mean that they should stay cooped up indoors. Addiction Treatment magazine recommended coordinating with a small group of family and friends to celebrate the achievement.

A smaller, more intimate group is likely to be more receptive to abstaining from alcohol for the duration of the party. They know what the individual in question has gone through. Rather than complain about the lack of drinks, they should be supportive and happy that their friend is turning his or her life around.

2. Connect with Others in Recovery

The community of people who have struggled with drugs and alcohol is very strong, and people who have just left treatment should tap into this valuable support system. While the public image of support groups is a circle of chairs in a room, that’s only one aspect. Many of these groups actually plan outings and other get togethers for their members to let some steam off, as Carla Fremlin, American Addiction Centers Alumni Manager explains:

These events may span from picnics, to concerts and dances, to barbecues, but the one constant is that they will always be a safe place for those in recovery. Not only will there not be any alcohol or drugs present, but everybody understands the struggles that each person has endured. Socializing with others in recovery can be a rewarding experience.”

3. Make Alcohol-Free Drinks for Your Summer Parties

Some people in recovery may want to host their own get-togethers, and this may cause problems when the guests anticipate something to drink. However, clever party planning and culinary skills can avoid most problems. By making nonalcoholic versions of popular drinks, host and guests alike will be able to enjoy themselves.

Epicurious explained that though some people may turn their noses up at drinks without alcohol, combining ingredients in clever ways can impress them just the same. For example, if a cocktail calls for vodka, substitute it with white grape juice mixed with lime. If a guest wants a tequila sunrise, mix in cactus juice or agave nectar instead. Even cognac can be imitated with peach or apricot juice.

While these recommendations will certainly help make the summer safer for people in recovery, it is important for friends and family to understand that no alcohol is welcome at parties of this nature. If friends refuse, consider what that means – do they value the sobriety of the person who struggled with substance abuse? If so, they will ditch the drink. If not, then that kind of person should not be in the life, let alone the party, of somebody who has completed addiction treatment.

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