The Summer Party Survival Guide for People in Recovery

July 2, 2019


From casual cookouts to graduations, weddings, and other special occasions, our summer calendars are always bursting with social plans. And while these parties promise plenty of warm-weather fun, they can also be stressful for people in recovery.

There’s an increased focus on drinking, even during the daytime. Maybe there’s family stress or strain. And of course, there are plenty of nosy questions from well-meaning party-goers about why you’re not cracking a beer, too. Sometimes, a summer event can feel less like a celebration and more like a minefield.

But you can protect your wellness while still making the most of your summer schedule. The key is to be open to new ideas, and to be creative in your solutions. Here are some tips for navigating the summer party scene while maintaining your recovery.

Get the scoop. A week or so before the event, reach out to the host and ask for details. How many people will be there? Who’s coming? What should I wear? What’s the food and drink situation going to be? The more you know in advance, the better you can prepare yourself to navigate the situation, and the less you have to worry about being thrown off by a surprise.

Put your hand up. Your recovery doesn’t have to be an elephant in the room—if you reach out and ask for little support, you’ll often find others are eager to help. If you feel comfortable with the host, talk to them directly. If not, ask other friends and family attending the event to be a little extra sensitive to your needs. Asking for what you need is not selfish, and the people who really care for you will be eager to support you through this.

Have an exit strategy. Before you even arrive, think about when and how you’ll leave. Will you stay till cake? Do you want to make sure you’re gone before Uncle Tim breaks out the brandy? Who do you want to say goodbye to before heading out? Every party is different, so be sure to think it through each time. But remember, this plan isn’t set in stone. if you’re feeling uncomfortable for any reason, at any time, you can always leave when you need to. Protect your health before you worry about manners.

Talk to your support system. Communication is key to maintaining all that you have worked so hard for. Throughout this party season, plan to check in with recovery coaches, counselors, therapists, sponsors, or other supportive folks in your recovery life. Call for a quick chat, meet up for coffee—whatever your schedule allows.

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