Staying sober — and making the most out of summer

Staying sober — and making the most out of summer

After record-breaking rains, I’m happy that summer is finally here. We are blessed to be surrounded by such beautiful scenery in our neck of the woods — and all the fantastic recreational activities that come with that.

For many, school is out and this is the best time to enjoy activities with the family and spend time outside. But if you’re in recovery, this may be a challenging time because the longer days may remind you of that phase in your life when having a good time was synonymous with drinking or using drugs.

As you’re out on a picnic or celebrating with family and friends, you may be confronted with the decision of whether you stay sober or give into old habits. The best thing you can do is keep your focus on your goals and embrace the season as part of your recovery.

If you don’t have a big vacation or trip planned, there are many activities you can do close to home, both indoors and outdoors. Here are some ideas:

Get fresh air.

  • There’s no shortage of hiking trails in our local communities, and hikes are wonderful for clearing your thoughts and getting fresh energy. But you don’t have to go on long hikes if you don’t want to — even as little as walking 15-20 minutes around your favorite park or local beach is beneficial to your physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Gardening is also a delightful summer activity. If a big gardening project feels like too much, start on a small scale. Planting a few containers with flowers, vegetables or herbs will give you the same enjoyment, as well as regular fresh air and sun exposure (don’t forget your sunscreen).
  • If you don’t want to grow your own fresh, organic veggies, visit your local farmers market, where you’ll also get some fresh air and a nice walk. Other outdoor ideas include a lunch picnic or simply reading a book on a park bench — it doesn’t have to be elaborate!

Expand your horizons.

  • If you’ve never enjoyed Puget Sound from the water, why not give it a try this summer. You can rent a boat or a trendy standup paddle board for as little as $20 an hour.
  • For indoor recreation, visit a museum. Many are free while others offer free admission on a specific time of the week. Or check out the classes at your local community center, where you can learn a new skill or try your hand at an art or craft.

Make new friends.

  • Volunteer a couple of hours a week for a local nonprofit. You will be amazed how good that makes you feel! Volunteering not also supports a worthy cause but also helps you reduce stress and expand your social network.
  • Surround yourself with other people in recovery so you don’t feel alone through your struggles. There are support groups that coordinate activities for people like you — if you don’t know where to find them, give us a call and we’ll send you in the right direction.
  • If you don’t find a group that appeals to you, create your own: a recovery-oriented book club, or a rock climbing or running group. It’s a great way to both share a common passion and socialize with others going through the recovery journey.
  • If you’re never attended a Birthday Meeting at Olalla Recovery, put that on your summer to-do list. It’s another way to surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through and can share tips — and you just may find some new friends interested in a book club or running group.

Staying sober during summer activities can be tough, especially with all the summer celebrations. Make the most of the season by filling your days with fun and healthy activities — and start making new memories.