This week Recovery Today, the free subscription based magainze (that shows up in your mail box – total old school) ran one of my posts, “How to stay Sober in the summer months” – I wanted to share it here with all of you as well.
Feel free to view and download the app for Recovery Today http://www.recoverytodaymagazine.com/
I got sober in May in the gorgeous beach town of Encinitas, California. It was glorious, summer-like weather year-round and surfers, yoginis and healthy vegans populated the landscape. Enjoying my first sober summer was pretty stress-free—in most regards. Does the crying, agitation, anxiety, not sleeping or oversleeping count? I was able to stay sober and hang out with my sober pals, and it sure did make that first sober summer enjoyable.
Regarding specific encounters I experienced, I wanted to share some highlights and how I was able to manage these excursions:
Of course, living in a beachside community, you are going to partake in what that has to offer. However, before I got sober, going to the beach was sporadic and I never lasted more than an hour or so, because I needed to have more booze and I was too anxious to sit and drink. Plus, I felt like I needed to be doing something, and sitting on a barstool was something and more appealing to me than a beach chair. So when I started going to the beach with friends, I almost didn’t know what to do. I didn’t realize you could sit and read, bring a picnic lunch and have real meaningful conversations with people. People like me. These people were also experiencing their first sober summer—so we were all in the same boat (not literally) and were able to enjoy the beach. I would go to the beach with a couple of friends or with a big group, and I was able to fully experience the beach and what it truly offered. I would bring my “mocktail” of an Arnold Palmer or an iced coffee, and we’d go on long walks and appreciate being present with one another. It was palpable and I could taste the salt air and water, and just bask in the day—sometimes staying on until late evening to watch the beautiful sunset, all the while pinching myself and saying WOW, I’m sober!
When I was 90 days sober, a good friend of mine called and asked if I wanted to go to the Dave Matthews Band concert. I knew that they were in town, but I felt it was too soon in my recovery to attend a concert like this, as I had been to numerous DMB shows pre-sober and they were always a party, usually lasting into the next day. I decided to go and as trepidatious as I felt, I felt ready to experience a concert sober! I bookended the event by calling my sponsor before and after the show and sharing with her how I was feeling and what was going on with me. I had some anxiety when we got there, and I felt weird not having an alcoholic beverage in my hand, but that was soon substituted with Red Bull, and since it was an outside venue I could smoke my Parliaments freely (never underestimate the power of cigarettes in early recovery). While the venue was filling up with concertgoers, the sweet aroma of marijuana was filling the open space around me—reminding me of something that I had completely forgotten about. I smoked pot here and there, but it was never my drug of choice. But now, at this concert with the masses partaking, I had an urge to smoke. But it passed. I talked about it with my friends and we all got that “contact high,” but we were so glad we didn’t do that anymore—and surprisingly we didn’t want to. We were there to feel the music, to be with each other and have that first sober concert experience. As soon as the music started, the dancing felt awkward, so I did my best white girl jam and grooved and bopped without moving my feet much. It was freaking amazing and it was a rush of adrenaline not having to be fucked up to enjoy it. Pretty soon into the concert, the annoying drunk folks took over and my feeling of gratitude kicked in pretty quickly. Ahh…this is a concert sober!
Bring. It. On.