Why Is Staying Sober in the Summer So Hard?
Written by Ashley Sutphin
Unfortunately, sometimes summer is associated with excessive drinking. Find tips for staying sober when it’s hot outside.
Have you ever felt like maintaining sobriety is more difficult in the summer? When the weather is warm, many people start to feel the heat, literally and figuratively. This is especially true when it comes to maintaining sobriety. The summer months may make sobriety more of a struggle for several reasons.
- During the summer, you may be more social. Culturally, social activities often include drinking.
- Since the days are longer and there are events like pool parties and backyard barbecues to attend, you may find more temptation over longer periods during the day.
- Summer also often means vacations and other events that we may associate with drinking.
If you struggle with controlling your drinking or staying sober, you’re not alone. Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by Alcohol Research reports that many people struggle with controlling their drinking; 6.5% of surveyed American adults have reported being heavy drinkers.
Even if you don’t necessarily have an unhealthy relationship with drinking, but you prefer to limit how much you drink, you may find yourself facing pressure. This is especially true in the summer.
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Issues With Drinking Alcohol In The Summertime
Drinking alcohol during the summer can be a risk not just from a sobriety standpoint, but it can also be detrimental to your health to drink when it’s hot outside. Examples of risks that may arise when drinking alcohol during the summer can include:
- Blood vessel dilation. This makes it easier for heat to rise to the surface of your skin, and if it’s already hot outside, you could overheat. This is especially true if you’re not hydrating with non-alcoholic drinks.
- Dehydration. Being out in the sun can exacerbate the effects of dehydration. Furthermore, drinking alcohol causes your kidneys to release more fluid through your urine than you otherwise would. This can also cause liver failure, as alcohol suppresses the antidiuretic hormone in humans — in 2017, 22,246 people in the U.S. died of alcoholic liver disease.
Lastly, when you’re under the influence of alcohol in the hot summer months, it can be difficult to realize the effects alcohol is having on you, including symptoms of dehydration, until it’s too late.
Tips for Staying Sober During The Summer
While it can present its challenges, it’s certainly possible to maintain your sobriety during the summer.
First and foremost, if you’re in recovery, you have to work to avoid nostalgia about the “good old days.” If it’s summer and everyone is having fun, it may take you back to a time when you were drinking.
People who struggle with alcohol may also romanticize those times when they’re in recovery or start to feel overconfident about staying sober. It’s important to avoid these situations in whatever way is best for you.
Here are some additional tips for a sober summer:
- Stay connected with your recovery program in the summer. It’s easy to fall off-track with your recovery program when everyone is out enjoying the nice weather and people are out of town on vacation. However, stay committed, and be in touch with your program and your sponsor if you have one.
- Bring someone you trust along with you if you’re going to a summer social event where there will be drinking. Your trusted friend or family member can act as your support system.
- Steer clear of those summer events that you know will be centered around heavy drinking.
- Leave early. You don’t have to stay until the very end of every event. It’s possible to socialize without being the last one to leave. The longer you stay, the more intoxicated people may become, and the more likely you may be to slip.
- Find ways that allow you to enjoy the summer but that aren’t built around drinking. For example, maybe you get together with sober friends to go paddleboarding or boating without incorporating alcohol into the event.
- Finally, stay strong in the face of it all. Don’t think that you have to drink as a way to make people happy. No one is going to be better off if you drink, and ultimately, you will suffer as a result.
If you’re struggling with alcohol and you’d like to explore treatment options, The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health is available. Contact us today.
- Kochanek, Kenneth D.; Murphy, Sherry L.; Xu, Jiaquan; Arias, Elizabeth. “Deaths: Final Data for 2017.” National Vital Statistics Reports, June 24, 2019. Accessed August 19, 2019.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” SAMSHA, 2015. Accessed August 19, 2019.