This Friday June 4th, I will celebrate 4 years sober.
It’s been a journey, but a journey I am lucky enough to be able to travel. Who I am today is a completely different person than who I was 4 years ago. Thankfully. I hit my own bottom (yes, there isn’t one big bottom that we all land on, everyone’s bottom looks different) and was lucky enough to have love and support that helped pick me back up and knew my worth, because I sure didn’t know it at the time.
The hardest part of living a life in recovery is having to navigate an alcohol obsessed society, while completely going against the norm by not drinking - If you haven’t noticed, drinking is literally everywhere. Yoga studios, the beach, movie theatres, at a baby shower or a Sunday morning brunch. It doesn’t matter, we always have to include it - I’m not anti-drinking. I’m just anti having to include alcohol in literally everything we do and feeling like crap all the time and not living up to our full potential.
Summer can be a big drinking season. We only have 3 months to live up the gorgeous weather, and the weekends are jam packed full of events. Whether it be weddings, cabin weekends, lake days, road trips, etc. Summer is another big time where we like to have a cold one to accompany our fun. I get it;
Summer is a trigger for me, especially the first few nice weather days we have.
My brain immediately shifts to “Should I drink on the patio?” “Ugh, day drinking.” Before I realize what is going on, and then push the thoughts aside.
I’m here to tell you that you absolutely can enjoy alcohol! But maybe you are not up for drinking one day, or maybe you are even looking to start cutting back but don’t know where to start? Maybe there are some events you want to attend this summer, but want to enjoy them without forgetting parts of it, or waking up the next day with a hangover? I have some tips for you!
I’m going to leave you with 4 tips (get it…4 tips, 4 years ☺ ) on how to attend a social gathering sans the booze! For this summer and beyond.
Always, always, always pack your own beverages!
Whether you will be drinking sparkling water, iced tea, NA Beer, or some other type of non alcoholic beverage, you always want to bring your own. Otherwise you could run into a problem where there are no options for you, or they’re options that you are not interested in. For me, that is plain water and pop. Boring. I want something fun (like everyone else) and I’m not a pop drinker. So I always pack my own, no matter where I’m going!
Sure it takes some time, especially when you aren’t sure what to say to people or how they will react. Or if you don’t know how long you will be abstaining for, etc. First things first…it isn’t anyone’s business! You can say “No thanks” or “I’m not drinking” and that is enough (though for some people it isn’t *eye roll*). Just know that you do not owe anyone any sort of explanation. The more confidence you have with saying “No” and enjoying your mocktail, the better!
Find a sober support.
Now this doesn’t have to be someone who is in recovery, but someone that respects your decision and can be there for you when you need it. It might be an online community or someone you are able to meet up with in real life, like a roommate or a friend. I’m lucky that my boyfriend isn’t huge into drinking and has actually abstained for over a year now! I also started to find an online sober community on Instagram and now am a host on a page called “1000 Hours Dry”. Find stuff like that! There is SO much out there! From mocktail ideas, to ways to handle your first holiday without booze, all the way to the nitty gritty details on what alcohol does to your body when you drink---I’ve learned it all through the internet! Reach out!
Know that you might have to say “No” to an event.
If you just know the people that are going to be there will pressure you, make you feel bad, or not understand or respect your decision. I advise to not go. Or if you know it’s an event with a ton of drinking involved and it just makes you feel uncomfortable, skip it. Setting boundaries is absolutely okay. You have to protect your energy and priorities. Those who love you will absolutely understand any decision or journey you decide to embark on.
Utilize these tips and keep them in your tool box.
You never know when there’s an event coming up that you would rather pass on the drinking and might need these to help you. You might even discover how amazing it is to be able to drive home, remember the entire evening, and wake up the next morning full of energy and ready to crush the day! You might also notice that you save money. ;)