For most people, summer is the best time of year. It’s full of vacations, weekends at the beach, parties and barbeques. But for someone recovering from an addiction, the social nature of summertime can be pure torture, presenting a series of triggers that make it difficult to stay sober. Below are some tips for how you can help a loved one stay on track amidst the temptation of “summer fun.”
- Act in solidarity. For someone new to recovery, an ally who will stay sober along with him or her often provides a source of relief and makes it a bit easier to avoid drinking or drug use. “Sober buddies” help an addict feel like he or she isn’t missing out on all of the “fun.”
- Don’t force someone to drink. For an addict, every day is a struggle to remain on the straight and narrow, and many feel ashamed of and frustrated by the fact that they cannot moderately control their substance use. To try and make someone “loosen up” and have a drink, smoke marijuana or any other type of forced substance use can set them on a dangerous path to relapse.
- Make it clear if drinks or dishes contain alcohol. At parties, hosts often serve punches and food made with alcohol. Make it clear if anything on the menu is composed of alcohol in any way to help your guests battling addiction make a mistake. And serving “mocktails” – like virgin margaritas – can be a tasty way to help guests with addiction problems feel more like a part of the party.
- Plan activities that do not revolve around drugs or alcohol. There are plenty social activities one can have that do not involve alcohol. For a day at the beach, suggest that you join a beach volleyball game. Suggest a camping trip composed of hikes, swims and other forms of exercise. If you’d like to have a party, host a game night with close friends. Alternating between drinking-focused and non-drinking-focused events will help someone recovering from an addiction feel more like a part of the group, rather than someone who can’t join in the fun.
- Don’t take advantage of your loved one’s sobriety. Unless he or she offers, don’t expect someone recovering from addiction to “keep an eye on things” or “take care of people” at a social event, serve as the designated driver or be in charge of clean-up duty at the end of the evening. This will only serve to isolate the person more and make he or she uncomfortable with sobriety.