Getting clean or sober through either a recovery program, recovery high school, or other means can help you to get your life back. However, as a young adult, the prospect of staying sober all summer, while your peers are often going out partying, where alcohol might be available, can be daunting.
However, there are plenty of activities that you can take up, so you can enjoy your summer and, more importantly, maintain your sobriety.
While volunteering may or may not be your idea of fun, it can be enriching in many ways. First, by giving back to your community, or even to the people who helped you to get sober, you can build a sense of self achievement and accomplishment. If you’re volunteering for the first time, try volunteering for short periods of a few weeks at different places to determine what you like and what you’re good at. Alateen, homeless shelters, the Salvation Army, your local library, and public cleanup are all places where you can easily volunteer your time. Helping others will also give you a mental boost of dopamine which will help you to feel better.
Go to Camp
While not financially feasible for everyone, summer and wilderness camps can be an excellent way to spend your summer. Some options, like The Camp Recovery Center and Abandon Addiction offer a rehab-like environment at camp, designed to help you get or stay clean or sober. Others, like the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Therapeutic Adventure Program for Teens and Young Adults (TAPTYA) simply focus on helping you to build life skills and personal development, which will benefit you at home. And, of course, any of these options includes weeks of exploration, camping, and a variety of other fun activities.
Get a Summer Job
Working over the summer not only gives you the chance to develop yourself and your future job prospects, it puts money in your pocket and in your bank account. Getting a job is an easy way to keep yourself occupied, even if you’re working part time. Plus, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment, especially if you can save up money, which can help you to pay off debts, buy clothes or a phone, or even buy a car. Even if you can’t save up money, working experience in your teen years can help you to move into a better job when you graduate high school or when you graduate college, which can be a huge plus for your future.
Activity and exercise naturally creates the endorphins that make you happy. Even regular stints of moderate exercise can produce dopamine and serotonin to help you stay happy and stay clean or sober, so you can maintain your new lifestyle. And, of course, you don’t have to work out alone if you don’t want to. There are plenty of activities and workouts you can take up that are both fun and exciting. For example, running, group cycling, going to the gym, group sports such as tennis or basketball, martial arts lessons, and much more.
Spend Time with Sober Friends
You might be surprised to learn how many of your friends and colleagues are actually sober. This is especially true if you are already heading into college, where many have already decided that they are staying away from drugs and alcohol. If you don’t know anyone who is sober, spending time in a group such as Alateen, can give you the same social interaction, without alcohol. Many sobriety groups regularly organize events, parties, social gatherings, and more, all without substances.
Do Sober Activities
From museums to movies to music festivals, there are plenty of things you can do without ever drinking a drop of alcohol. While some events, especially musical ones, will have alcohol present, you can likely bring your own drinks or stick to water or juice and make your preferences for not having alcohol known from the start. Most of your peers will be very supportive of you choosing not to have alcohol as well if you discuss your problems with them.
Start a Hobby (Or Improve One)
Hobbies can be rewarding, calming, and de-stressing, and having free time over the summer gives you the opportunity to learn and to improve. Whether you’re not currently doing anything or have old and dusty things that you used to love sitting around, picking something up and sticking to it will give you something to do while rewarding you and helping you to grow. What should you try? Almost anything counts, so long as you can build a schedule around it and practice it regularly. Playing a musical instrument, writing, writing a blog, vlogging, learning photography and photo editing, gardening, sewing, and a vast number of other things all qualify as great hobbies. If you don’t know what to try, most areas have plenty of low-cost courses and workshops that you can try at a low cost.
Make a Reading List
Reading is a valuable activity that can help you to develop emotionally and mentally. While you may already be a strong reader, creating a reading list of books and working your way through them over the summer can be immensely helpful and fun. If you’re already reading a lot of books, you can try to read the classics, developmental literature, or books on topics surrounding a study you want to take when you graduate. If you’re not a strong reader, start out with light reads from the YA section or find something that you just enjoy reading.
Help Around the House
Chances are that if you lived with your parents while addicted, you put them through a lot. Taking the time to help, clean up around the house, contribute to household expenses if you have a job, and taking care of chores or tasks without being asked can go a long way towards showing your gratitude towards them and to rebuilding your relationship. Importantly, it’s better to contribute in small ways each day, offering consistent help and support, rather than expending all your energy on something big. By consistently being there and helping, you can show that you are trying and truly want to build a relationship with them.
Attend a Sobriety Group
Sobriety groups like Alateen can help you to spend your time wisely, will give you continued motivation and accountability for staying sober, and will host several events throughout the week which you can attend. Most groups expect once a week meetings, but you can likely attend up to a few times a week depending on the structure of the group. Sobriety groups can help you to stay sober by providing support, offering help, and giving you the chance to discuss your problems with other people who understand what you’re going through.
Staying sober over the summer can seem daunting, but with a combination of activities, you can do it. The key to retaining your sobriety is to avoid feelings of boredom, uselessness, anger, and depression, because negative emotions feed into your addiction, making you crave substances. By keeping yourself active, working to improve yourself, and finding things to occupy yourself outside of mindless entertainment, you can make yourself happy without drugs or alcohol.
If you or your loved one is struggling to stay clean or sober, it is important that you seek professional help. There are plenty of rehabilitation options for teens and young adults, and many of them are structured around summer-camp like experiences, may include high-school, and may be structured to allow you to learn and develop yourself around other teens.
Please call us at Lighthouse Treatment Center today. At any time we are happy to provide a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced treatment advisors. Contact us today to discuss your situation in confidence.
Enjoy your summer.