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How to Have a Fun Sober Summer and Resist Temptation

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How to Have a Fun Sober Summer and Resist Temptation

A quick glimpse at the season’s commercials, billboards, or even your Instagram feed could tell you that summer and alcohol apparently go hand-in-hand. Whether it be the appeal of a cold beverage or the summer party culture in general, summer is one of the hardest times to avoid relapse for many addicts.

How to Have a Fun Sober Summer

A sober summer is a goal for all recovering addicts. Socialization soars during the summer months and, while you may want to join your friends and family in the revelry, you also don’t want to fall into temptation and relapse. It can be a precarious balance.

Fortunately, there are a few critical tips you can keep in your back pocket to help you achieve that glorious sober summer while still basking in full merriment.

Tips for Staying Sober at Summer Parties

Bring a Friend

One of the easiest ways to stay sober at a summer party or event is to bring a friend with you. Make sure that friend is supportive of your recovery and knows you want to stay sober. It’s always much harder to say no to temptation when you’re alone. A friend can give you the support you need to stay confident in your decisions.


It’s important to realize that while a friend can offer support in your recovery, they’re not responsible for your sobriety.

Stay Busy

It’s easiest to resist temptation when your mind is preoccupied. If you find that your eyes keep wandering to the cooler full of beer, take action in finding something to busy yourself. Ask your friends if they want to play a game of pool, see if your grill-master neighbor needs a hand with the burgers, or pull up the highlights from your team’s game earlier that day. Whatever you choose to do, it’ll keep the drink out of sight and out of mind!

Set Boundaries

If you’re going somewhere that alcohol will be present, try setting a time limit for how long you’ll stay. The less time you spend at an alcohol-fueled event, the less time you’ll spend being tempted.

No one is immune to temptation. If you’ve been invited to an event that is too much of a trigger, respect that boundary and don’t go. It’s important to tend to your relationships and allow yourself to have fun, but none of that is as important as your recovery. Instead of attending the party, reach out to your friends and invite them to hang out individually or in a more recovery-friendly environment.

Keep a (Non-Alcoholic) Drink in Your Hand

Whether you’re at a backyard BBQ, pool party, or summer wedding, it’s a natural response for hosts and party-goers to offer drinks to their friends. Even if your friends know you’re sober, they might be caught up in the revelry and offer a drink without thinking. One of the best ways to avoid this awkward encounter is to keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand. If you’re already holding a drink, people are much less likely to offer you one. It’s also a good way to avoid being given a mystery drink that may contain alcohol.

Just because you’re having a sober summer doesn’t mean you have to stick to water or the kids’ cooler. Check out this list of non-alcoholic mocktails for inspiration. Many of them are easy to make on your own!

Ways to Make Your Sober Summer Fun

  • Host Your Own Party

    Rather than attending someone else’s party and tangoing with temptation, try hosting your own sober party. In addition to supporting your own sobriety, a sober party could also be a great way to help your friends in recovery who may be struggling with the same summer temptations. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day are all great occasions to put on your hosting hat, come up with some fun sober party games, and bring the good spirits of summer to your own home.

  • Try New Activities

    While summer may be synonymous with sippin’ a cold beer by the pool for many, there are a plethora of summer activities that don’t require any alcohol. Go on a bike ride, check out a new outdoor food court, or take a nice nature hike. That dose of nature is guaranteed to make you feel happy and revitalized during these warmer months. Or maybe you’d like to beat the heat and take the family to an indoor ice-skating rink. If you live by the coast, look up the closest standup paddle board or kayak rentals. Both of these water sports can be loads of fun and require your full effort and attention, so there’s no room for alcohol!

  • Join a Sports Team

    This out-of-the-box tip for staying sober is basically a double-whammy! Joining a sports team offers exercise and a sense of community, which are both critical aspects of long-term sobriety. Exercise can play a huge role in recovery and is essential for feeling your best, both physically and mentally. Not only does exercise keep you active — and therefore, not drinking — but it also releases endorphins in the body that help to reduce stress and induce happiness.

    Check with your local park or community center to see if any intramural sports teams are looking for new players. It can be a fun way to stay sober, meet new people, and get outside to enjoy the beautiful summer days.


Staying sober during the summer doesn’t need to be a precarious balancing act. No matter how many beer commercials your TV throws at you this summer, go ahead and bask in the comfort of knowing a fun and festive sober summer is completely possible with these tips and tricks.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, our addiction counselors are available 24/7 by phone: 855-737-7363

Posted in Addiction, Alcoholism, Culture, Recovery