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TGIF Sober People: Memorial Day Edition

Memorial Day weekend is the official start of summer. People in the Pacific NW rejoice at this wonderful slice of spring/summer (Spummer) that falls between the cold and rain of March-May and the hot and everything’s on fire dog days of July-August. So rejoice! Happy Sprummer to you.

For those in early recovery the onslaught of weddings, outdoor events and barbecues this weekend can be overwhelming. Socializing may seem daunting to someone who is newly sober. And there will be lots of drinking and partying at some of these events. So here are some time-tested, sober summer approved tips for surviving the long weekend.

  1. Be Helpful: This is a perennial favorite in any situation where you are uncomfortable. Show up ready to work. Help clear the table. Volunteer to man the grill. Run to the store for ice. Maybe do some light yard work for your hosts (kidding! mostly). You keep your hands busy and you feel purposeful. And the little boost your ego gets from being helpful goes a long way to raising your overall comfort level and feeling more at ease.
  2. 2. Eat Yourself Some Food: Drinks and drugs tend to curtail the appetite. Do not underestimate the sheer joy of being fully present and able to enjoy all of the tasty summer foods out there. Grilled meats? Strawberry shortcake? Assorted cold salads made by someone’s aunt? DON’T MIND IF I DO! Eat up. You’ve earned it after graciously mowing your host’s front lawn (again, kidding).
  3. Bring a Buddy: Travel in twos! Or threes and fours. If you can bring a sober buddy…do so! If you can’t, see if there is someone – like a sponsor – whom you can communicate with during the event.
  4. Have an Exit Plan: Schedule something that will get you out the door at a certain hour or just have a plan to head out if you start to feel antsy. Keep your key/wallet/purse handy so that if, in a pinch, you need to walk out of the door: do it. You can always explain later why you left.
  5. Practice Self Care: Exercise, naps, and even a little retail therapy are all helpful add-ins to a long, highly-social weekend. Build moments into the days and make time in the schedule for some quiet, some rest and some relaxation.
  6. BYOB: Travel with your own mocktail fixings and bring enough to share. Many people in recovery will bring some sparkling water for the bar table and then stash their own 6-pack of seltzer in the fridge. Make sure you have something cold and refreshing to sip on that you mix/poured yourself.
  7. No is a Complete Sentence: There is no getting around it. You may get offers and then questions when you say “no thanks, just iced tea for me.” You get to decide what you say. Some folks like to be coy. Others like to say it loud and proud. It’s okay just to say “no thanks.” and if there is follow up, you can simply say again, “Nope, I’m good. No. Thanks.”

Good luck and have a great Memorial Day Weekend sober people!

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