Dr. Harry: 8 Amazing Tips For Living Sober This Summer
Every one in recovery knows that the fun summer months are filled with more events, holidays and parties which all provide more pressure to drink and do drugs. For many of us, awkward situations and no preparation are among the biggest threats to our early sobriety. Dr. Harry L. Haroutunian (or, “Dr. Harry,” as he is affectionately known by his patients) has helped hundreds of people and families who are suffering from the disease of addiction for nearly 40 years via his role as doctor, author, lecturer, sponsor and friend. His living sober mission uses unique concierge doctor solutions, the best clinical team, evidence-based treatment directives and uncompromising principles to help his patients achieve long-term recovery. Part of that long-term directive is living sober in the summer!
Recovery 101: Living Sober This Summer
Living healthy may be an American obsession (especially in Los Angeles) but for people in recovery, living sober this summer is actually a matter of life or death. Depending on how long you were addicted and what type of addiction you had, (and if there are any co-occurring disorders or other medical conditions) you should have a plan for healthy ways of sober living. It’s all a process, with the aim of progress- not perfection! But being sober is still a new and different way of living for people in recovery, and one that requires constant vigilance.
As with any good plan, but especially with a living sober lifestyle, you need a solid foundation. What works best for addicts in recovery are simple solutions… they’re just for slightly complicated people. Aftercare is not just for post- rehab or treatment. Continuing with self-care after you have gone through treatment is an important component of maintaining healthy sober living and staying focused on recovery. In order to not feel overwhelmed by all the changes that come with sober living, try to take things slowly. Take things day-by-day, hour-by-hour, or if necessary, minute by minute. It is important to not take on so much responsibility that it has the potential to make you too stressed or overwhelmed when dealing with the pressures.
From block parties, Holidays, graduations, pool parties, weddings, and lazy days at the beach, summer activities can easily become alcohol and drug fueled events. Our mission at Dr. Harry Living Sober is to help our clients by providing improved life management skills, enhanced interpersonal relationships and involvement in addiction community support groups to help them maintain their sobriety. You can make time for fun and leisure activities this summer, but as we’ve all learned from many previous attempts, there is never a good reason to overindulge in alcoholic beverages. The key is to stay sober this summer! There isn’t a one-size-fits-all path to maintaining a life of long-term sobriety, just as there is no single treatment that works well for every individual learning how to overcome an addiction. But there are suggestions that have worked for hundreds of thousands of alcoholics in a program of recovery. Take what works and leave the rest. Just make sure to utilize as many strategies as are available, including any new ones that work best for you.
The Best Summer Tips For Sober Living From Dr. Harry
There’s a popular saying about sobriety heard often in the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): “It works, if you work it.” What that means is that achieving stable and consistent sobriety depends on how the sober addict works at it! Recovery isn’t something any sober addict can ever take for granted. If we “work” at recovery daily, staying sober through the summer means attending meetings regularly, doing the 12 Steps with a sponsor, practicing the program’s principles, and volunteering to help newcomers in recovery, our chances of achieving successful long-term sobriety are far greater than if we get complacent.
Over the more than 40 years of working with patients towards recovery from addictions, we have learned the value of a uniquely personal experience of each person in recovery. Maintaining a life of sobriety also means being adaptable and getting comfortable with dreaded “change.” Long-term sobriety involves continuous adjustments, growth, and learning. Here area 8 amazing Summer Sober Living Tips from Dr. Harry to help you on your path of recovery:
- Tip #1 How To Say “No” To A Drink
Should you find yourself in a situation this summer that puts your recovery to the test, it’s way easier to survive the summer with your sobriety intact if you have a few set responses for when someone offers you a drink. There are many ways you can tell people that you are sober, without telling them about your addictions and recovery! Saying everything from a simple “No not right now thanks,” or “ I’m trying to drink more water,” to keeping it light or funny and saying “I’m watching my girlish figure (it’s even funnier when you’re a guy)” or, the all time classic “I’m allergic to alcohol; every time I drink, I break out in handcuffs.”
- Tip #2: H.A.L.T & Triggers:
H.A.L.T stands for: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. I think it’s helpful to tell newly sober people what is going to happen so they are not too freaked out when it does. If we let ourselves get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired, we are headed for problems. Nobody can be useful to anyone if they are dragging, cranky, or uncomfortable. And addicts are likely to get a craving if any one of these basic necessities isn’t cared for. Triggers and cravings are a very real part of recovery. We can prevent relapse by taking care of ourselves and recognizing certain signs. The key to maintaining a life in recovery and healthy sober living is a combination of self-care and self-awareness.
- Tip #3 Let Nature Nurture
It’s summer, time to get outside! Most of us have been raised to reach for medication when we’re unwell, but exposure to health-promoting environments has been increasingly recognized for both preventing and helping treat diseases. Get out in nature as much as possible. Fresh air and sunshine are wonderful antidotes for depression and anxiety. Try out simple activities that are free, like walking, hiking, biking and surfing to establish a deeper connection with nature. Recent reports reveal that nature has the power to nurture. Exposure to any green space – open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation and even urban green spaces- can even reduce the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure!
- Tip #4 Exercise!
Ever notice how you are actually meditating while exercising? Literally “working” it“out”- whatever is on your mind? When I got sober exercise took on a whole new role. It gives us natural endorphins, which feels good. For us, feeling good is essential. It’s also a healthy outlet for emotions, helps keep us on a schedule, keeps us physically strong, and helps us feel fatigued and tired naturally at night.
- Tip #5: Pursue Interests Outside of Recovery
While getting and staying sober may not always be challenging, fascinating, and exciting, it shouldn’t be approached as a chore. You can make it fun and enjoyable. Explore new hobbies, interests, and opportunities for personal growth that are not directly applicable to staying sober. Martial arts, reading, exercise, cooking or pets are all viable options that could add color and interest to your life while enhancing your chances of recovery.
These daily recovery behaviors will help you stay on the path to lifelong sobriety. A successful recovery program is made up of many different elements and it looks different for everyone. Find what works for you and put your recovery plan into action.
- Tip #6: Try Meditation
Really, try meditation… again. There are many different ways to meditate. Most of us didn’t give a c**p about meditating before getting sober. But it’s amazing to witness how the calmness and peace that comes through a short meditation and conscious contact with a higher power can flip that switch. All you have to do is get quiet and still, focus on breath and everything becomes much more manageable. You can even practice living meditations by just being in the moment right where you are and not wishing you could be somewhere else (or someone else). Meditating is a great coping mechanism, use it at the right time and ask for guidance.
- Tip # 7 Be Creative
Ever wonder why addiction rehabs and treatment centers have those jewelry making or painting classes? Music or drama therapy are not just good for group healing in rehabs; being creative gets your brain focused on being in the moment and expressing thoughts, feelings and emotions. Everybody needs a creative outlet, but especially those of us living in sobriety. Add painting, drawing, singing, dancing or anything creative into your life. Even cooking and the culinary arts leave plenty of room for creativity. Try something new, take a class, join a group or a meet up and see how you feel when you get in the flow of creativity. If it gets the creative juices flowing, it’s good for your sobriety.
- Tip #8 Be Grateful
Make a daily gratitude list. Keep it simple and write as much as you can come up with. Don’t like to journal or write? Get a daily text going with your sponsor or a group of sober friends. An “Attitude Of Gratitude” packs a powerful dose of positivity into any day, and can usually flip that switch from negative to positive for the typical addicts mind. It’s nearly impossible to be obsessing over what you are lacking or what is challenging in your life if you are focused on all of the many things we have to be grateful for in any given moment…even if that means starting with gratitude for taking a sober breath!
Living Sober This Summer With Dr. Harry
Are you trying to have a sober summer? Dr. Harry Haroutunian is dedicated to helping people attain a healthy and satisfying lifestyle focusing on individual recovery. We know that staying clean and sober during the summer months has some challenges as people like to kick back and relax a little bit, the party mindset and situations often sets the stage for overconsumption of alcohol for non-addicts; but for people in recovery it could jeopardize their sobriety and put them at risk for relapse.
Has alcohol or drug abuse started to take a toll on your health, your career and/or your personal life? No one ever becomes a substance abuser or addict intentionally. Highly motivated A-list professionals are under the gun, and most of the time that ‘stress to impress’ requires some kind of relief. It’s no surprise that this “relief” usually comes in the form of medications, drugs and/or alcohol, which can quickly turn into addiction. If you notice a feeling that you have to use drugs or alcohol regularly, or you’re having problems at work or in your relationships, you need to get help. No matter how you or your loved one ended up addicted or struggling with dependence, finding the best private addiction treatment is absolutely critical to avoid remission, relapse or even death. Dr. Harry is the best in Southern California and he’s here to help you practice living sober this summer.