If you’re curious about 10 reasons why you should get clean and sober during the summer, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re concerned about your drug and/or alcohol intake.
After all, you didn’t casually stumble upon this blog post while scrolling YouTube videos. Something’s gnawing at the edge of your subconscious, some little voice whispering that maybe it’s time to take a look at how much you drink or use and put the brakes on. Or stop altogether.
After all, if you’re like a lot of folks who enjoy partying, summer is when the dial gets turned to 11. Memorial Day is the unofficial start to the summer season, and that holiday alone is the No. 2 holiday for beer sales. What’s No. 1? That mid-summer celebration known as July Fourth, according to the website WalletHub . The No. 3 holiday? The unofficial end of summer — Labor Day.
Summer partying, of course, isn’t limited solely to major holidays during that season. Last year, according to Forbes magazine, America fell in love with White Claw — “hard,” or spiked, seltzers that accounted for 19 percent of the beer/cider/seltzer sales during the summer, according to Forbes magazine, an increase of 13 percent over the year before . Beer sales are up every summer anyway, the article adds, because “there is a convenience factor associated with beer and cider that have allowed it to be a top choice for summer — cans and bottles are easy to travel with and pack for outdoor excursions” to the beach, the lake and other places where sun worshipers seek to celebrate the season.
It’s no surprise, of course: For decades, Americans have been led to believe that summer is meant for relaxation and play. Family vacations, spontaneous road trips and outdoor adventures are packaged up and sold as beer commercials, and they’re always tantalizing in their tales of fun and frivolity. Folks who wind up perusing blog posts about 10 reasons why you should get clean and sober during the summer, however, have a keen understanding that there’s a big difference between that fantasy and reality.
Laughing, smiling people on a boat? We’re the ones who get drunk and fall overboard. Cute couple around a campfire as the sun sets? We’re the ones who are so wasted by that point we vomit into the fire. Sitting on the sand as waves roll in? We’re the ones who pass out on a ratty towel and stay that way for the next six hours, until we wake up hungover and with sun poisoning.
If that’s a truer picture of your summer, then why do the same thing over and over again, expecting it to be different? Get started now on a path to sobriety, and those picturesque postcard scenes can become your reality — minus the drugs and booze.
So what are 10 reasons why you should get clean and sober during the summer? Read on:
10 Reasons Why You Should Get Clean and Sober During the Summer: No. 1 — You’ll Feel Better
Obviously, summer is a lot more fun when you’re not feeling lousy because of excessive drinking and using or the after effects. According to the website WebMD , “cutting back or quitting (drinking) may lower your blood pressure, levels of fat called triglycerides, and chances of heart failure,” among other things: losing weight, you’ll sleep better, you’ll improve brain function and, if your liver has been impacted, it can heal itself and even regenerate. Of all the 10 reasons why you should get clean and sober during the summer, an improvement to your physical health alone will be worth it — but that’s not all.
No. 2: You’ll Look Better
Those of us who abuse drugs and alcohol see it on our faces every time we look in the mirror: the bags under our eyes, the lines on our face, the jaundiced eyes, the sallow skin. Drugs and alcohol are chemicals that don’t just harm our insides; they take a toll on our outsides as well — and summer, according to sobriety blogger Kate Bee , makes us even more painfully aware of our physical debilitations because of our drinking and drug use: “Sobriety brings with it better sleep, clearer skin and brighter eyes – welcome side effects at any time of year, but all the more so in summer.”
No. 3: You’ll Have More Time
Long summer days are the envy of all of us who stare out of the window in late December, longing for more sunlight. But when alcohol and drugs consume so much of our time, even the glorious days of summer never seem long enough. Quitting opens up more time in your schedule than you might think, according to Keri Wiginton, writing for The Washington Post : “When you're used to drinking every evening — whether alone or with friends — you get a lot of time back when you give it up … with my new sober afternoons and evenings, I didn't devote any energy to procuring alcohol. Instead, I found constructive ways to spend my time. I went on a lot of hikes, exercised every day, read more books, learned how to make sourdough bread, cooked a lot of meals from scratch and finally learned how to cut my hair.”
No.4: You Can Get More Done
Somewhat related to No. 3, getting more done has more to do with all of those plans we talk about when we’re getting drunk and high. Addicts and alcoholics do a lot of talking, but very little doing. They make grand plans to take trips and go to festivals and do all of these glorious summer activities, but then Labor Day arrives, and they’ve accomplished nothing. Drinking and using drugs are time sucks, in that they steal the motivation you’ll find in sobriety to get out and make the most of your summer. Without the shackles of drugs and alcohol, the sky is the limit when it comes to self-improvement and self-care, and you’re likely to find sobriety allows you do instead of just talk.
10 Reasons Why You Should Get Clean and Sober During the Summer: No. 5 — You’ll Stay Cool
Let’s face it: Summer is hot! That’s an understatement, but when the “dog days” of late July/early August set in, it’s hard to feel motivated to do anything that takes you outdoors for more than a few minutes. Just the thought of walking outside to check the mail seems like a burden, and opening your car door after it’s been outside all day is like trying to crawl in an oven. One of the great things about a drug and alcohol rehab — air conditioning! If it’s too hot to do anything else, it’s never too hot to seek treatment for a drug and alcohol problem … and by the time you have your feet firmly planted in recovery, you’ll be ready to enjoy fall.
No. 6: You’ll Be Present
Alcohol and drugs have a narcotizing effect on our participation in life, and during a season designed to make memories, it’s often with a sense of shame when we look back on vacations, parties, family gatherings and other events and have no memory of being there. “For me, alcohol was a way to check out. It allowed me to be someone I’m not, enjoy things I don’t, made time go by faster (please Lord, tell me why I EVER wanted that), or made things easier to deal with. It was the ‘easy’ solution,” writes Ahna Hendrix for Medium . “But that’s not good enough for me anymore. I want the real stuff — all of it. I can enjoy my friends and family, discovering seashells, and jumping waves without the booze annnnnd then I come home and feel great afterward!”
No. 7: You’ll Stay Out of Jail
Here’s the thing about legal consequences over drugs and alcohol: Nobody thinks it will happen to them, until it does. Many individuals who get pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence thought they were perfectly fine to drive when they got behind the wheel. Many men and women arrested for possession or consumption never thought the substances they took along to enhance a summer party would land them behind bars. No one plans on getting arrested … but if you’re overindulging in drugs and alcohol, it’s always a possibility. And the best way to avoid that possibility from ever becoming a reality? Don’t use and drink! Pretty simple, eh?
No. 8: You’ll Stay Safe
Alcohol, drugs and summer fun don’t mix. Accidents and heat-related injuries are common in the summer, but they’re made worse when booze and drugs are a factor: “"We get many people who drown because they were drunk in the water," says Dr. Steve Smith, emergency medicine physician at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis . "Boating accidents are a big problem. People fall off and get chewed up by the propeller, or they use personal watercraft while they're drunk and suffer major trauma or drown." And because alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it contributes to dehydration, it can make those who imbibe more susceptible to heat stroke.
10 Reasons Why You Should Get Clean and Sober During the Summer: No. 9 — You’ll Save Money
A drug habit can be expensive, but so, too, can a drinking problem. Consider the following from the blog of the app I Am Sober : “For an alcoholic, it’s not just $20 on a bad night. It’s the $15 Uber you have to pay to get home; the $6 takeout you buy instead of making a meal because you’re too intoxicated; the firewood you buy online because of an idea you had; the hour of work you miss in the morning buying $7 over-the-counter hangover remedies; the $10 Uber you need to get back to your car after work (plus or minus the $45 parking ticket from last night).” Maintaining a drug or alcohol problem costs money, and that’s money that could be paying for a trip to the beach or a down payment on a boat or any number of other activities designed to enhance your summer instead of taking away from it.
No. 10: You’ll Change Your Life
Of all the 10 reasons why you should get clean and sober during the summer, doing so to put a way of life that’s not working behind you is perhaps the most important. Not everyone has a problem with alcohol and drugs, but those who do aren’t weak — they’re sick. Addiction and alcoholism are diseases, and those who suffer don’t even realize they’re sick until their lives begin to fall apart. Part of that is because they don’t present as typical “illnesses,” and the hallmarks of them aren’t what most people think of as symptoms of an illness. They are, however, chronic, progressive and — if untreated — fatal afflictions. And if you’re reading a blog about 10 reasons why you should get clean and sober during the summer, chances are good you suspect that if you’re not already a full-blown addict or alcoholic, you might well be on your way.
Why, then, let it get so bad that it does more than just ruin your summer? Why wait until it destroys your life? Get the help you need now, whether it’s the week after Memorial Day or the one right before Christmas, so that you can stop using and drinking, lose the desire to do so and find a new way to live. This summer, and all the others that follow, will be seasons worth celebrating if you do.