Maintaining Summer Sobriety: 5 Ways to Prioritize Your Health

Summer is often the most anticipated season each year, as the warm weather and array of fun activities spark joy and excitement. However, individuals who struggle with substance abuse may find summers as one of the more challenging periods, and the reasons for this vary significantly. The summer months bring forth various challenges in maintaining sobriety, and it’s incredibly beneficial for struggling individuals to take the necessary precautions before committing to an endeavor. Maintaining summer sobriety may seem daunting, but people can enjoy the season without hiccups or risks with the right approach.

At GateHouse Treatment, we witness the dangers summer presents to those with substance use disorders firsthand. Fortunately, our addiction treatment programs can help you achieve and maintain sobriety year-round to make the most of the summer months. Read below for tips and tricks to keep sobriety your #1 priority.

What Makes Maintaining Summer Sobriety So Difficult?

Looking at all the common factors and temptations, it’s no wonder why maintaining summer sobriety can present challenges. These factors can include things such as:

  • Vacations – Many people vacation during the summer, and these trips often support or revolve around substance use. Many getaways capitalize on alcohol for vacationers, which makes avoiding these substances significantly more challenging. People also want to unwind on their trip, and alcohol or drugs may be their go-to.
  • Gatherings and Holidays – Festivities increase in frequency during the summer, be it concerts, parties, barbecues, and other social get-togethers. Many of these events involve alcohol and substance use, making it difficult to avoid if you wish to attend. Holidays such as the Fourth of July are also catalysts for substance use, as this celebratory time usually includes an increase in indulging.
  • Longer Days – Summer days are longer than in the other seasons, which means individuals must resist temptations for more time each day. The ample sunlight may draw people into tempting situations more quickly, and the extended social aspects of summer can prove troublesome to many.
  • Busy Schedules – Time off from work may increase during the summer, but this doesn’t mean people’s schedules grow lighter. If anything, the season adds more to a person’s daily endeavors, which may overwhelm some. As a result, individuals may become exhausted or tired from a demanding schedule and turn to alcohol or a stimulant to wind down after a long day.
  • Company Marketing – Many companies, especially alcohol manufacturers and distributors, capitalize on the summer months to promote new or seasonal products and enhance their marketing repertoire. While this promotional increase is undoubtedly an effective business strategy, it increases the temptation for those with a history of substance use. It makes it harder to shake off the need for sobriety to try the most recent craze.

Maintaining Summer Sobriety Requires Realistic Expectations

While maintaining summer sobriety, no one should expect to remove themselves from all potentially tempting situations during the season. There will most likely be times when you’ll need to make a better judgment, even if you haven’t prepared beforehand. On top of that, maintaining summer sobriety shouldn’t feel like a punishment. You are avoiding substances to better yourself and your future. Being hard on yourself or feeling guilty is disadvantageous to your person, and you should view these tips as guides toward a brighter future rather than a statement regarding your character or past indiscretions.

5 Tips for Maintaining Summer Sobriety

Here are five excellent tips for maintaining summer sobriety:

1. Avoid FOMO – Fear of missing out (FOMO) is common for individuals when tempting social situations arise. The summer months amplify FOMO when intriguing events, concerts, and parties rise in occurrence. Don’t let these feelings deter you from sticking to your values. If you do not wish to partake in substance use-related excursions, you have every right to do so, and no one should force you into something you’re uncomfortable doing.

If a friend or family member tries to push you into any activity where temptation may arise, you should reconsider their reliability as a meaningful support stream. A person who values your situation and respects your decision genuinely cares about your betterment rather than personal desires.

2. Keep Track of Your Emotional State – Monitoring your emotions is extremely helpful when maintaining sobriety. The summer can bring plenty of stress, anxiety, exhaustion, or discomfort, and it’s essential to analyze how these emotions may affect your overall mental state. If emotional turmoil triggers a desire to engage in substance abuse, try to find meaningful ways to change the tone of these situations without giving in. You can talk to close companions, see a therapist, meditate, or join a support group if you need extra assistance.

3. Know What to Expect – As stated before, you shouldn’t feel like you can’t attend certain events just because there may be alcohol or drugs present. If you plan on attending a jeopardizing situation, strategize and clearly understand what you can expect. If temptations arise, give yourself an exit strategy, and have some remedial actions or items ready to go if you need additional help.

4. Balance Your Schedule – Maintaining summer sobriety requires a delicate balance of schedule where you can actively engage in mindful activities while attending certain social situations. Fill in dates on your calendar with adventures that steer clear of substance use, such as hiking, camping, physical exercise, sightseeing, or catching up on the latest TV show. Social environments are fun, but they’re not the only thing you need to do during the summer.

Maintaining a regimented schedule at home can also prove worthwhile to enhance your mindset. Adhere to your objectives, be it cleaning the house, grocery shopping, or other chores, and don’t push something off just because “it’s the summer.” The more active you are with practical tasks, the less likely you are to use substances to fill the time.

5. Seek Additional Support – Seeking additional support is crucial for navigating the unique challenges of summer. One valuable form of help is attending group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These gatherings provide a supportive community where you can share experiences, receive guidance, and find encouragement from others who understand the struggles of maintaining sobriety. Connecting with like-minded individuals can provide a sense of belonging and reinforce your commitment to staying sober.

In addition to group support, individual therapy or counseling can be instrumental in maintaining sobriety during the summer months. Working with a therapist offers a safe and confidential space to explore the underlying factors contributing to your substance use and develop personalized coping strategies. A therapist can provide valuable insights, tools, and support tailored to your specific needs, helping you navigate temptations and pressures while building a solid foundation for long-term recovery. Seeking additional support is not a sign of weakness but a proactive step towards prioritizing your health and well-being during the summer and beyond.

GateHouse Treatment Can Help You Maintain Summer Sobriety

As a leading addiction treatment center, GateHouse provides individuals with the proper means for prolonged sobriety. We offer various treatment programs such as partial hospitalization (PHP), intensive outpatient (IOP), outpatient (OP), and others to give extra support to anyone struggling with substance use.

If you need assistance this summer, don’t wait. Call us at (855) 448-3588 or visit our website to get started on or reinforce your sobriety journey.

GateHouse Treatment Editorial Staff
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