Activities you can enjoy without drinking in warm weather.
“Spring: a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can truly be.”– Anonymous
As the weather finally begins to subside a bit and we watch flowers begin to bloom again, it feels like a double shot of spring due to the proliferation of the COVID vaccine shots taking place and many people starting to feel like they can actually begin to live a bit again.
For me, this time of the year was especially exciting when I used to drink because it would signal the ever arising emergence of the sundress season and day parties in Atlanta — two of the many things that make Atlanta a great place to live.
I remember my first year being alcohol-conscious was rather challenging, as I would find myself a bit sad at seeing all the people standing in line for a day party or drinking at the pool, so I can imagine how this must feel for anyone who just stopped drinking recently.
I’m sure there’s that small twinge of desire to get out and partake.
Therefore, I wanted to share five quick tips of things that I began doing heavily during my first two years of alcohol-consciousness that helped me get through and even thrive during this time.
1. Visit various restaurants in your city
My wife and I stopped drinking a year before we got married and struggled a bit initially to figure out how to occupy all of this free time on Saturday nights. Before this, we would just start pre-gaming at our apartment and decide to go out wherever the mood took us.
Sometimes this would be to a local known bar of choice and, other times, we would just pick a random bar to just see what it was like.
Once we became AC (alcohol-conscious), hitting up bars would not do at all.
Fortunately, around this time, my wife decided to invest in an Atlanta Passbook, that offered BOGO entree deals that gave us a whole list of restaurants to visit in the city that we had never been to before.
Therefore, instead of going out to drink every Saturday night, we would choose one of these restaurants to check out.
This turned into us visiting a number of different places that we would’ve never visited before because I typically did not like to eat while I drank.
Because of this, we were able to discover so many new restaurants and have so many memories at these places that we would’ve never had before because we probably would’ve been too drunk to really remember.
2. Meet couples/friends for lunch instead of dinner
When we first started going out, meeting another couple for dinner was not ideal at the time since we were newly sober. We were a bit apprehensive to watch someone else drink a beer or down a glass of wine right in front of us, as our newly fragile sobriety may not be able to take it.
To prevent this, we would often just meet our friends out for lunch instead of dinner and still enjoy the summertime with them discussing their lives and how things were going.
While there were still times that the occasional friend would still partake in a mimosa or early day drink, for the most part, this wasn’t something that we had to worry about and decreased the chances that we would need to worry about being tempted just because we saw the person across from us doing so.
3. Walk around neighborhoods in your city
After COVID started, the Saturday night restaurant trips had to stop, so we had to figure out something else to do with our free time.
One thing that really helped us tremendously and brought us closer together as a couple was taking walks around different neighborhoods.
We would just choose a neighborhood that we didn’t know much about and drive to a location with free parking, like a grocery store or fast food restaurant that was central to the city.
We would then just choose a direction and walk anywhere from 3–5 miles and then turn around and walk back to our car. We were planning to buy a house in the next year, so this helped us get a feel for different types of neighborhoods and houses, while also allowing us to talk about a number of different things related to life in general.
This is something that quickly became one of our favorites things to do together and something that we will continue to do long after COVID is over because of how fun it is just to walk and discuss our thoughts and ideas while enjoying an amazing day out.
4. Take up a hobby
There is only going to be so much time in a day, and if you are really going to fill up all of the free time that you used to waste drinking on the weekend from 2 pm — 10 pm, you’re going to really have to find something that is able to fill that.
For me, I began to explore a number of different hobbies that greatly helped fill this void.
As shared in this AINYF article, if you don’t find some type of new hobby to occupy all of the time that you didn’t realize you wasted with alcohol, you could find yourself with too much time to think about drinking.
The two things I did were began studying Korean to push myself mentally to get outside of my comfort zone and began this publication to share my alcohol-conscious journey.
I also began working on another entrepreneurial endeavor on the side that also has taken a fair amount of my time.
My old drinking self would’ve barely been able to do just one of these things, much less all three of them at the same time.
Picking up a hobby and pushing myself mentally kept me so focused on my goals and getting better, that I had no time to feel bad for myself watching other people drink in the sun.
And lastly, I would suggest beginning to exercise if you don’t already do so.
The thing about exercise is that not only does it allow you to get out in the sun and enjoy the positive vitamin D that your body gets from being exposed to it, it will also serve to decrease your alcohol cravings by giving you a natural dopamine boost to make you feel great — a double benefit.
Also, as Sophie Kinsella would say, “If you look good, you feel good,” the benefits of exercising often will help you to lose weight and just feel better overall about your appearance and general health.
This improved physical representation of the inner change and improvement that you may feel can be a great impetus to keep you motivated to continue to not drink and push you to the next level of fitness and overall success in your life.
Doing this during the warm time of the year is just so much easier, as seeing others outside running and creating the best version of themselves can replace that feeling you had when you saw others drinking at bars and not creating theirs.
Spring is amazing for so many reasons, and your first one alcohol-conscious can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming at first.
However, if you use some or all of these five strategies to help you focus less on what others are doing and more on how you’re building the best you possible, you should be able to bloom out of it and emerge as beautiful as your favorite spring flower.