Sober Summer: The Best Time To Quit Drinking And Find Yourself
Summer is a season of joy, relaxation, get-togethers and holidays and the perfect time to stop drinking and try the sober summer challenge. It’s a time when the sun shines brighter, the days are longer, and there’s an air of excitement in the atmosphere. And what better time to embark on a journey of being sober than during the warmer summer months?
In this article, we will explore the benefits of getting sober during summer and why it can be easier to start your recovery journey during these months. We also look at effective and safe ways to stop drinking if you are a moderate or heavy drinker and how to stay sober moving forward.
Why Is Summer The Best Time To Get Sober?
The warmer weather and longer days provide ample opportunity for outdoor activities and enjoying nature. Summer is a time when people often gather for barbecues, picnics, and parties, which can be triggers for those struggling with alcohol addiction. However, choosing to get sober during summer allows you to experience these events fully without the haze of alcohol. It’s a chance to create new memories and embrace a healthier lifestyle and mindset.
Boredom and stress can be two key components that drive unhealthy drinking habits. Summer is a great time to get out of the house and connect with others, get busy with new hobbies, or simply just enjoy the sunshine. The sun and warmth can lift your mood instantly. It just makes everything more enjoyable.
Other Benefits Of Getting Sober In Summer:
- If you find being in nature soothing to your soul, the warmer climate makes everything more vivid as flowers and surroundings bloom into life. Sitting by a river or walking in the park provides the perfect opportunity for reflection.
- The longer days allow you to pack more into your daily life. Whereas in winter, you may automatically rush home from work to open a bottle of wine in front of the TV, there are plenty of daylight hours left to enjoy a walk, meet with friends or attend a gym. Quitting drinking will free you up to engage in life a lot more.
- Our bodies naturally absorb vitamin D from the sun’s rays. A daily dose will leave you feeling happier and calmer. Vitamin D actively fights depression by increasing serotonin and boosting immunity.
- If you have children, you will be able to spend more quality time with them during the summer holidays. Instead of avoiding interaction by being intoxicated or hung over, you will benefit from increased energy levels, better mood and the ability to be present and enjoy the moment.
- Giving up drinking means better quality sleep during the summer months. Regardless of the time of year, better sleep is something we all benefit from.
- You can save a lot of money by staying sober during the summer. Instead of blowing your hard-earned cash on alcohol, you can spend it on days out, buy yourself something special or put it towards a holiday.
- It is easier to develop healthy habits during summer. Increased motivation during the sunnier months can help you to focus on improving your overall well-being.
Sober Summer Activities To Try
Remaining sober this summer provides an excellent time to grow and implement lots of positive change. Every single day, with a clear head, you can learn or try something new.
If you have always consumed a lot of alcohol during summer, chances are your activities will have revolved around pubs and boozy events. Whilst attending events or places where alcohol is served is possible, you might want to avoid them during the early weeks and months of sobriety. Instead, you will be looking to fill your time with something else that is more rewarding. We have a few suggestions for you to try.
Challenge Yourself During A Sober Summer To Try New Activities:
- Experience the joy of a sober holiday: Don’t miss out on the incredible experience of having a holiday without alcohol. A sober holiday has the potential to create lasting memories that will stay with you forever. When drinking, every day can feel repetitive and monotonous. However, by embracing a sober holiday, you have the chance to make new and beautiful memories that will be cherished for a lifetime.
- Learn a new skill or hobby: Water can provide a great sense of comfort for those who feel at ease in it. If you’re unfamiliar with swimming, why not consider learning? Similarly, if you’ve never tried paddleboarding or rowing a boat along a river, why not join a local group and give it a try?
- Discover your creative side: The summer season brings a sense of brightness, vibrancy, and colour. Allow your creativity to flourish by spending time outdoors with a sketchbook or canvas and painting. Express the beauty of summer in your own unique way. If you’re unsure about how or where to begin, consider joining art groups or taking a course for guidance and inspiration.
- Spend time outdoors: Nature possesses proven therapeutic qualities and provides an opportunity for self-reflection or daily planning. Whether it’s dedicating thirty minutes to enjoying a garden with your morning coffee or watching a sunset at the beach, being in nature promotes mindfulness without the interference of phones or other gadgets.
- Embrace your inner child: Sometimes, we tend to overlook the importance of play and having fun. Our lives can become consumed by mundane tasks, obligations, and work. However, taking the time to engage in playful activities and reconnect with our inner child can be both enjoyable and invigorating. Whether it’s playing with water guns or participating in a game of rounders, these inexpensive activities have the power to bring joy and laughter into our lives.
Your Future Self Will Thank You
By remaining sober during the summer months, you will be able to look back at all of the new memories you have formed with clarity. Perhaps you will have found new and healthier connections and discover what you truly enjoy. You may even decide that remaining sober is the way forward.
Staying sober for a decent period will undoubtedly teach you a lot about your relationship with alcohol. Many people will find it pretty smooth sailing apart from the odd pang for an alcoholic drink or the occasional fear of missing out. For a few, however, remaining sober can be a real challenge. Regardless of your experience of staying sober during summer, it will teach you a lot about yourself – providing you remain open to learning.
Staying sober in summer will:
- Show you the extent to which you rely on alcohol
- Reveal triggers (people, places or things that trigger a desire for alcohol)
- Force you to deal with emotions with an alternative way to drinking
- Show you the benefits of a healthier body and mind
- Reveal the exact reasons why you drank in the first place
- Provide you with the opportunity to overcome challenges and experience new things sober
- Allow you to develop a better and healthier relationship with yourself and with those you love
However, if you feel about remaining sober during summer, it is the best time to learn more about yourself and your relationship with alcohol. This is something that you can carry forward into your future.
Can’t Stay Sober In Summer?
Whilst summer is undoubtedly the best time to get sober due to the increased opportunities, personal motivation and joy it offers, some people will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to complete the challenge.
Firstly, there is getting sober and stopping alcohol safely. If you have been drinking frequently and heavily, you may need some assistance with this. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are very unpleasant and can become dangerous if left untreated.
If you experience the following withdrawal symptoms on stopping alcohol, you should seek medical help:
- Severe anxiety and restlessness
- Insomnia that lasts for more than a few days
- Tremors (uncontrollable shaking of the hands)
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- Delerium (detached from reality, confusion, disorientation, hallucinations and tremors)
- Memory and cognitive problems
Experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms indicates that you have an alcohol dependence. Mild to moderate symptoms can be managed at home with an alcohol reduction regime, supportive therapy and Desistal.
Problematic and severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms require immediate medical attention, either through a hospital or detox facility. Any symptoms that become distressing should be reported to a doctor or addiction specialist without delay.
Once you have stopped drinking, then comes the question of how to stay sober over the summer. If you have an alcohol use disorder (AUD), you are likely to find this difficult. You may find yourself constantly thinking about alcohol and avoiding events and places that you would like to go just because alcohol is there. You may feel extremely depressed, stressed and anxious without alcohol in your life. This can make it very difficult to stay sober during summer. It can feel more like torture than a positive thing.
You Don’t Have To Be Miserable Without Alcohol
Feeling miserable without alcohol and really missing it, or being unable to stay sober, is often a sign you have an unhealthy relationship with booze.
Those who have alcoholism or regularly abuse alcohol do so for a reason. This reason often reveals itself when alcohol is removed from the equation. The underlying causes of alcohol use disorders can be complex yet treatable.
Causes of alcoholism:
- Genetic factors: Some people may have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, meaning they are more likely to develop an addiction if they have a family history of alcoholism.
- Environmental factors: Growing up in an environment where alcohol abuse is common or being exposed to heavy drinking can increase the risk of developing alcoholism.
- Psychological factors: Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and trauma can contribute to the development of alcoholism, causing a person to turn to alcohol as a way to cope.
- Social pressure: Peer pressure and societal norms can influence individuals to engage in excessive drinking and potentially develop an addiction.
- Stress and coping mechanisms: Alcohol can be used as a way to escape from stress or difficult situations, leading to dependence and addiction over time.
If staying sober this summer fills you with dread, or you have previously attempted it and failed, don’t let this deter you from trying. Professional therapy, supportive treatments and a recovery group can really make a difference. These treatments combined can help you to experience your best summer yet, all without using alcohol as a crutch or as a way of coping.
- Nature: How connecting with nature improves our mental health: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/research/nature-how-connecting-nature-benefits-our-mental-health
- Complications of alcohol withdrawal: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6761825/
- Alcohol’s effects on health: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-alcohol-use-disorder