Springtime Sobriety: Navigating Warm Weather Temptations


We did it! Winter is over and just like that, it’s the first day of Spring. The days are longer, the weather is warming up and soon enough, the tulips will be blooming. However, for many people in early recovery, the change of seasons can bring about some challenges.

After being shut in by the cold and dark over the winter, people start to naturally emerge again. Invitations for occasions may start arriving, people start hanging out more, and everyone wants to be outside. But, the warmer weather can bring about multiple triggers for those new to recovery or struggling with sobriety.

While alcohol is everywhere all the time, something happens in the spring where it seemingly starts popping up even more. Outdoor happy hours, social gatherings, concerts, vacations, golf, weddings — these kinds of things ramp up when the warmer weather rolls around. This can make a newly sober person very itchy, and uncomfortable when they are out and about in a world obsessed with booze.

We all want to be a part of and feel included. But when we venture out in sobriety and everyone is drinking, we can feel left out. And being around alcohol in the early days of recovery is a huge trigger and can be dangerous. So the newly sober may opt out of events and gatherings to stay safe, but then have big feelings about being left out. 

If we do participate and alcohol abounds, the newly sober can feel jealous, angry, sad, isolated, uncomfortable or alienated. And that’s just to name a few of the many feelings that can surface. Not to mention the cravings. Cravings are a normal part of early recovery but can be harder to navigate when booze is front and center. 

It’s best to avoid triggers early on in a recovery journey, which may mean declining some invites. But if you must go, options are available so you can enjoy the Spring as much as possible, while also protecting your sobriety.

You can decide how long you want to stay at your event before going. You don’t have to stay the entire time, either. We’ve found that a tolerable window for our social batteries is usually two to three hours, but make it 15 minutes if that’s what you need to do. You can also make a plan ahead of time so that you can make a swift and early exit if you start to feel squirrelly. And nobody really cares if you leave early — seriously. 

Planning some warmer weather hang-outs that don’t revolve around drinking is an option too. An outdoor cafe, hikes, walks, mini-golf, beach dates — literally anything. A whole world opens up when we aren’t drinking. Doing something exciting and new is a great way to get some natural dopamine as well. So maybe sign up for that 5K you’ve been thinking about, or do something wild like skeet shooting, skydiving, or a trapeze class. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone beats sitting in a bar any day, and there’s endless options for things to do outdoors in the warmer weather.

Spring is an awesome time to be sober. Aside from all the corny parallels I could draw between spring and sobriety (blossoming, growing, coming back to life), it’s an opportunity to start new habits and hobbies that get you outside. While the spring can feel challenging, sobriety can be difficult no matter what time of year it is. But the difference with Spring is that you don’t have to be shut in while you adjust to your new normal, and you can get outside and do something new – or weird. 

What season did you get sober in and how did that season affect your early recovery? Share with us in the comments!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *