sober summer fun portland oregon 2023 addiction treatment recovery Summer is here!

While the warm weather and fun activities of summer may make you excited to get out there and soak up the sun, many people in recovery – especially those in early recovery – find that summertime months can be very triggering. 

With so many parties, get-togethers, picnics, beach days, BBQs, camp outs and concerts to consider, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Each special occasion can just feel like another opportunity to relapse. 

When Your Brain Associates Drugs and Alcohol With Fun, You Need to Re-learn How to Have Fun 


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One of the big misconceptions about getting sober and living in recovery is that you stop having fun. You don’t. You just learn how to have fun differently. 

Addiction trains the brain to associate fun with drinking and using. It tells you that without drugs and/or alcohol, fun is off the table. Our alcohol obsessed culture often plays a part in creating this association as well. For those who begin using in their youth, many core memories of “fun” – parties, concerts, dates, weddings, etc – are infused with drug and alcohol use. This means that your brain’s association between substances and “fun” is even stronger because it has been strengthened over a long period of time.

If you are concerned about how to have fun without drugs and alcohol, you’re not alone. This is a common concern with people who are in early recovery. 

The truth is, you have to learn how to have fun without drugs and alcohol again. This can sometimes take some practice and concerted effort. But is it worth it! 

Plan for Sober Summer Fun in Advance 


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If you’re in early recovery, don’t just wing it this summer. 

You will find yourself in triggering situations. Expect it. Plan for it.

Here’s some good tips when you’re making your plans: 

  • Make plans with other people in recovery, safe family members, and friends who support your sobriety. Ask them to support you in having fun without drugs and alcohol. 
  • Stay away from events that are too triggering. You don’t need to attend the raging 4th of July party with your old friends who are still using this year. You can always revisit that event in a safer way next year. 
  • Have alternatives. Bring a yummy non alcoholic beverage with you. Keep yourself occupied with healthy snacks. Bring along a fidget, a bag of sunflower seeds, a fun lawn game, your favorite recovery podcast – whatever works for YOU and will fit in nicely with the activity you have planned. Think about how to keep yourself occupied in new and different ways. Give yourself options. 
  • Get active! Summer is a great time to get in the water, go for a hike, go camping, take a road trip, or get involved in team sports. Moving your body is not only healthy, it is grounding and helps naturally produce some of the same feel-good chemicals released with drugs of abuse. Your mood will improve and you’ll reap physical health benefits, as well. 
  • Review your relapse prevention plan before you need it. Jump right into it if you are feeling at risk for relapse. Stay close to your recovery support people for help with accountability. 

Sober Summer Fun Ideas in Portland Oregon 


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There’s lots of good resources for drug and alcohol free fun in Portland. Here’s some of our top favorite ideas for this summer: 

Check out the launch party for Buzzcut, a local app that helps your find nonalcoholic beverages to enjoy out and about. Apparently there may be jello wrestling!

Peruse weird and unusual local day trip destinations on Atlas Obscura. This is one of our favorite websites for finding all of the weird and unusual places you can only find in and around Portland.

Get back into the fitness zone at the Recovery Gym, a project launched in association with the local Alano Club. 

Like antiques? Dig old machines? Have you ever been to the Great Oregon Steamup in Brooks? We love this event for nerding out on original steam engines found in saw mills, WWI tanks, tractors and all manner of farm equipment. 

Looking for MAT, Buprenorphine for Addiction Treatment or Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in Portland Oregon?

At Shanti Recovery and Wellness, we understand how difficult it can be to seek treatment for SUD. We are committed to reducing barriers to treatment for addiction treatment patients in Portland, Oregon and beyond.

Interested to learn more about how we can help? Give us a call today to begin your journey to freedom from addiction.