As summer comes around, occasions such as festivals, holidays and team-building events can often prove a challenging time for those looking to stay sober.

To help combat these urges, expert Thomas Isbell, Co-Founder & CEO of Sabino Recovery, guides us through seven tips to stay on your sober path.

Tip 1 – Keep your reasons for being sober visible

When surrounded by temptations, it is good to remind yourself why you are sober, and you can easily do this with something like setting your lockscreen as a photo of your reasons. This can help ground you in moments where you feel the pull to break sobriety. Whether it is a photo of your family, a picture of a checklist of your reasons, or a picture of yourself, a simple photo can prove good to keep you in check.

Tip 2 – Have a sober buddy

While it is not always possible to attend an event with another sober person, if it is possible, then this is a great option. Often, there are Facebook groups for those attending a festival sober and you can link up with these people beforehand. A sober buddy is someone you can talk to when things get difficult, and they will help you keep in check.

Tip 3 – Give yourself other sources of dopamine 

While festivals may not provide the best arena for outdoor exercise, something small, like meditating before an event, can give you a small boost and set you up for a good day. Alongside this, eating nutritious food and a varied diet will help your brain stay on track and focused across any event or weekend away. If you can fuel yourself with healthy food that helps boost your dopamine levels, then you will have an easier time staying on the right path.

Tip 4 – Get over your embarrassment and enjoy the fun

Many of us feel embarrassed over doing something like dancing in public, but in order to remain sober you must jump the hurdle and become okay with doing things you have deemed humiliating in public. Practising mindfulness ahead of a trip can set you up and then engaging, little by little, in the ‘embarrassing’ behaviour can slowly but surely get you feeling more confident.

Tip 5 – Know where things are ahead of your trip

If it is possible, knowing where the alcohol-free options of the trip are can set you in good stead. If you are attending a work event, then speaking with the managers beforehand about alcohol-free options can set you up for an enjoyable time where you do not unnecessarily encounter anything that could trigger you.

Tip 6 – Recognise your triggers and avoid them

For some, being around alcohol is not a trigger anymore, but for others, newer on their journey to sobriety, it can be an easy catalyst for relapsing. If you are new to your sober life, then recognising that going to a boozy party is going to be too big of a risk for staying on track, then there is no shame avoiding it.

Tip 7 – Set boundaries ahead of the event

Setting boundaries is a brilliant way of practicing patience with yourself. Tell yourself ahead of time how long you are going to spend somewhere and stick to it. You build trust with yourself when you know your limit and stick to what you say. There is no need to be overly harsh with yourself though, and it is important to set realistic goals.

The government reported that over 1 million patients a year are admitted for alcohol-related issues, signifying a clear problem in the UK. Thomas Isbell from Sabino Recovery comments:

There is no shame in recognising that an event or party is too much for you and removing yourself. Those around you who really care will happily provide accommodations for you and will help where possible. Substance abuse issues are treatable and with focus and dedication you can thrive in these social events without feeling that urge to engage with alcohol or drugs.

Thomas Isbell, Sabino Recovery

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.