First of all, I need to be honest. I have mixed feelings about the word sober. When I was twelve and I went to my first party I didn’t tell the host “No thanks, just coke for me, I’m sober.” I just drank coke. No explanation. No questioning. No back story. You know?
The word sober by definition means-not affected by alcohol; not drunk. Right now it’s 6:30ish in the morning and I am going to guess that most of you reading this are sober. You’re not drunk. However, as well all know, the word sober means so much more than that. It means “What happened?” and “Why” and “Oh No” and weird looks, suspicious thoughts, and the ability to make some people very uncomfortable. I don’t love that about the word.
But, for some people, “sober” means you’re completely badass. It means maybe you do have a story, and it was hard as hell, but you’re now on the other side of things. It means that you made a really hard choice that meant changing everything about your life. It means being free from the chains of drugs and alcohol. In that case I love the word.
Either way, I prefer to just say nothing. I don’t want to be defined by what I eat and drink. I am just Samantha. I am a million different things.
It’s summertime. Well, not technically but it’s past Memorial Day Weekend which is the unofficial kick off to summer. The pools are open, the water is warm, and there ares so many hours of light. I love every bit of it.
But, for many people summer means drinking. There’s a sense that this time of year means more relaxation and ease. It’s hot as hell so we are literally thirsty. And, again we have been brainwashed to pair alcohol with so many fun things.
Baseball=Beer, Boat=Beer, Barbecue=Beer, Warm Weather=Spritzer, Beach=Margarita, Pool=Sangria, you get the point. Just this past weekend I was out boating and I was having a great time. We were back in a cove, listening to my favorite boat jams, swimming, and eating snacks. Slowly the cove kept getting busier and busier and with each new boat came a new group of people drinking, singing, dancing, and having a blast. For a split second I had FOMO. I “wished” I “could” drink (which are two words I rarely say).
I quickly reminded myself of what happened last time I was boating and drinking and the feeling passed. I was encouraged by the fact that I don’t want to drink (like at all, ever). And, the best part, that I don’t have to drink to have fun anymore.
We are sold on the illusion that summertime is for drinking. I do believe that it’s a time to worry less, stay up later, and reconnect with your inner child. I do believe it’s a time to be free and to change up the routine. I do believe that it’s a time to play and have fun. And even though I may have felt that while drinking, it was short lived, and followed by a whole big bunch of regret.
So here are a few tips on staying sober this summer.
-Drink a lot. Drink fun drinks with a kick, fresh lime/basil/mint and all the herbs that your summertime garden will provide. Take them to the pool, to the party, to the boat, to the beach and sip away. You might find that it’s the act of drinking you want-not the alcohol. Don’t deprive yourself of that behavior or feeling. Just leave out the booze.
-Check yourself. Is your mind telling you that you are not having fun if you’re not drinking? I love the quote “don’t believe everything your mind tells you.” In my early days, I remember checking in a lot. I was constantly reminding myself “this is fun.” “I’m having fun.” “Yeah, that’s right. So fun.” If you’re not having fun, then the alcohol probably only made it tolerable. Maybe assess if it’s really what you want to be doing. If not, then leave. Just leave. Let go of what you think you should be doing.
-Food. I am not suggesting that you replace drinking with eating. But I am suggesting that you explore the food situation. I never ate at parties or gatherings because I was too focused on drinking. Now, I love barbecues. Watermelon? Kabobs? That blueberry thing with the whipped cream? YES PLEASE!! Also, food trucks are the new microbrewery. Just saying.
-Find your people. Not everyone drinks. They just don’t. I didn’t believe it either until I started paying to attention to plenty of people around me that aren’t drinking. There’s a million reasons. Maybe they’re sober, maybe they have a big meeting in the morning, maybe they never have, or maybe they don’t feel like it. Either way, they are there. Give them a silent “I see you man” and go ahead and pat yourself on the back.
I love being sober in summer because I will not spend one minute of my favorite season in bed, hungover, and filled with regret. And, just a friendly reminder that every sober person out there once believed that they could never ever stop drinking.
Let the fun begin!