Summer’s on its way and what’s not to enjoy about feeling the sun on our faces, enjoying lighter nights, and making the most of being outside in the warm weather. Sunshine boosts our Vitamin D levels, raising our happiness levels and instilling a more carefree attitude.
But for the newly sober (and even those who’ve been sober a while), the summer months and carefree attitudes bring several challenges. Beer gardens, boozy BBQs, and wine-fuelled festivals offer alcoholic temptation. Increased alcohol cravings and FOMO (the fear of missing out) dents determination and sober summer holidays can test your sobriety to the limit.
Getting and staying sober isn’t easy, particularly in the first few years. If you struggle with FOMO and crave alcohol during the summer, it’s the ideal time to revisit your whys and go back to sobriety basics. Giving in to alcohol won’t make you feel better. Instead, reframe your thinking, find some support and follow these five top tips to help you stay strong in your sobriety.
Boost your health and fitness
Summer’s the perfect time to get in shape and improve your health and wellbeing. Plan some walks to places you haven’t seen before. Walking Britain offers a free online resource of beautiful walks throughout Great Britain from Scotland to Cornwall. If you’ve never tried hiking before, start with a short walk. Over time your fitness will improve and you’ll soon be skipping up hills like a mountain goat, feeling proud of your accomplishments.
Cycling is also a popular way to get fit. If you struggle with hills, why not use the money you save by not drinking to treat yourself to an electric bike? You still get a good workout while also getting a helping hand up the hills. Electric bikes are a fun way to explore your surroundings. What’s more, there are plenty of bike hire centres around the UK so you can try before you buy.
Avoid beer gardens to prevent any alcohol cravings
Unless you feel confident in your sobriety, avoid beer gardens for meet-ups with friends and family. Your loved ones should support you, especially if you explain why you feel uncomfortable in those areas. Be firm with your friends and don’t give in to peer pressure. Suggest doing different activities that don’t involve alcohol instead. There are lots of other outdoor activities to try that don’t involve sitting surrounded by alcohol.
Picnics are the perfect opportunity to enjoy some fresh air, good company, and indulge in delicious food. So why not get outside, get creative, and pack up a picnic basket full of delicious treats?
A picnic can be as simple as a few sandwiches and cakes, or as delicious as an a la carte outdoor dining experience – just without the booze. Zing up your picnic ideas with these tasty picnic recipes and impress your friends with your culinary genius.
It’s hard to beat picnicking at a beautiful spot — whether that’s on top of a mountain or by the sea. You’ll find much better spots to sit and chill out than a busy beer garden and you’ll be less likely to face those alcohol cravings.
Stock up on alcohol-free alternatives
Trigger warning – if you feel alcohol-free alternatives may make your cravings for alcohol worse, then please steer clear. But for some people, drinking an alcohol-free drink helps deal with any cravings for alcohol.
There’s a huge range of alcohol-free drinks available on the market. Gone are the days when you could only buy a sweet, syrupy alcohol-free lager. Now you can get anything from sparkling wine to AF spirits. I have a few favourite summer AF drinks that I enjoy when the sun’s shining.
If you’re heading out to a festival and you know you might feel left out while everyone else pours a glass of fizz, pack yourself plenty of AF alternatives. There’s no FOMO where alcohol’s concerned. Stick with the AF and you’ll enjoy the day far more without alcohol zapping your energy.
If alcohol-free drinks act as a trigger, why not treat yourself to some delicious soft drinks. Tasty cordials, elderflower fizz, and ginger beer are a refreshing way to stay hydrated and beat the cravings.
Enjoy tasty summer treats
Alcohol is packed with calories. According to an NHS comparison, a standard 175ml glass of wine contains as many calories as 3 jaffa cakes, and downing a pint of beer is equal to eating a standard size Mars Bar. No wonder alcohol leads to weight gain!
If you’re no longer consuming empty calories and spending your hard-earned cash on drinking, you can afford to treat yourself to delicious ice cream or other culinary delights.
I’m not advising you to go crazy and eat lots of sugary snacks, but rewarding yourself for not drinking with an occasional visit to your favourite ice cream parlour is a good way to ward off cravings. Sugar cravings are common when you first stop drinking, and it’s better to give in to a sweet treat than reach for alcohol.
Why not see how many different flavours you can find or try making ice cream at home using this simple no churn recipe.
Swap FOMO (fear of missing out) for JOMO (joy of moving on)
Let’s face it, nobody feels great after drinking. Think back to the queasy stomach, the embarrassing moments, the texts you’d never dream of sending while sober. And then there’s the day after, the pounding head, anxiety, and sickness.
Next time you feel like you’re missing out, reflect on your why. Think about all your reasons for giving up alcohol. There’s nothing to miss as far as drinking is concerned, it’s a poison that destroys lives and damages health.
A positive way to deal with FOMO is to reframe your thinking. Focus on the joy of missing out instead. The joy of waking up fresh, with no hangover or sickness. The joy of remembering what happened without embarrassment. The ability to enjoy yourself while staying present and in the moment.
If you’re heading out in the evening, plan something lovely for the next morning. Organise a walk, or brunch out. If you start to feel FOMO or alcohol cravings during the evening, remind yourself that in the morning it’ll be you who’s experiencing the joy of life, while others are lying in bed feeling hungover from the night before.
If you’d like to experience more JOMO and need some support to help you get there, book a 1:1 call with me. I’ve experienced alcohol addiction and I know how challenging it can be to get through the summer months while all around you seem intent on using alcohol to enjoy the sunshine.
Don’t suffer in silence. You do have the willpower to stay strong in your sobriety. Sometimes all it takes is some support and advice from somebody who understands.