Can Your Sober Summer Be the Best Yet?
By Nadia Sheikh
There are plenty of ways to have fun this summer as a sober person. You’ve probably seen the suggestions floating around social media, or maybe you’ve got some ideas of your own.
But, for many sober folks – especially those who are new to recovery – there’s a lurking reservation when it comes to staying sober during the summer. Can your summer actually be better while your sober?
Absolutely! And in more ways than one.
You’ll Save Money
Logically, by staying sober this summer, we (most likely) won’t drain our bank accounts like we might’ve done in the past. All of that ”fun” we associated with alcohol and drugs was also super expensive. Even if you find 25-cent draughts or get a discount from your drug dealer all summer long, a daily habit is always an expensive one to maintain.
With that extra cash in your pocket, you can indulge in bigger and better summer fun. Invest in a new Xbox or that panoramic lens for your camera.
Take a road-trip or travel abroad. Grab some theme park tickets or book a skydiving trip.
The world’s our oyster!
You’ll Actually Get Out and Have Fun
We often think about past summers of drinking and drugging with total euphoric recall—romanticizing our substance abuse and only remembering the good times. In reality, those good times led to dark hopelessness for many of us. So much of my drug use was lonely, quarantined in my room for so long I didn’t even know if it was summer or winter.
Addiction isolates us. We become captives of our substance of choice. Staying sober this summer means total freedom to do the things you love. You’ll have time for friends (not just the drug dealer), and feel comfortable with them instead of nervous or paranoid. You’ll be willing to leave the house or bar. You’ll have more time to explore new things and find actual adventures.
You’ll Have More Friends
When I was using, most of my friends just wanted to get high or they were drug dealers. The thought of hanging out with sober people—or even just people who didn’t party as hard as me—made me feel so anxious. We tend to associate our high times of partying in the past with lots of friends and social interaction, yet I lost so many of these friends and eventually didn’t interact at all.
That first drink or hit may lower our inhibitions, but it never stops there. So you won’t be going to any raging keggers this summer, but that means you’ll actually have the chance to meet new people and make friends. By staying sober, there’s no longer a need to cut people out of your life in order to protect your addiction. It’s a good idea to stay away from “friends” who pressure you to drink or get high, but are those people truly your friends if they can’t respect your sobriety and enjoy your sober company?
No Intoxicated Regrets
I’m a big believer in no regrets because I think everything that’s happened it my life has brought me to where I am now. Still, I made plenty of mistakes and hurt people that I care about during my drug abuse. I don’t know how to get high without living selfishly, and when I’m under the influence I can be a loose cannon.
Instead of making intoxicated mistakes and hearing about them the next morning, you’ll remain your true self throughout this sober summer.
Substance abuse affects our decision making and our ability to be authentic. Sobriety gives us the power to be thoughtful and make decisions based on our values.
You’ll Remember Your Memories
The most ironic thing about partying hard is that we’re seeking some kind of “fun,” memorable experience, yet heavy abuse of any substance can fog up our memory. Whether you’re a heavy drinker who blacks out or a speed freak who stays up for weeks, our memories are lost or choppy and confusing.
With the freedom sobriety brings you to seek out adventure and new experiences, there will be plenty of memorable moments—and you’ll actually remember them! Substance abuse is a cycle of numbing and forgetting, yet our experiences and memories bring richness to our lives and shape who we are. How dare we miss it?
In the words of Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast—if you don’t stop and look around every once in awhile, you could miss it.”