Ahhhh, summertime – here it comes. The start of the summer season is marked by Memorial Day and the official kick off is this weekend. So, what does that mean? For many it means sun, fun, vacation, backyard barbeques, time by the pool, spending time at the beach, outdoor concerts, and baseball games … sometimes it also means alcohol or other substances to accompany these events.However, for those engaged in addiction/recovery, national holidays, such as Memorial Day weekend, can prove to be equally or even more challenging than day to day activities. The pressure to comply with and conform to others who choose alcohol during this weekend’s upcoming events may be overwhelming. How can one make an individualized, healthy choice while supporting sobriety during this first summer social? Those who have worked with Peachtree DBT know the answer to this question:  we have DBT skills for that!An effective place to begin is with mindfulness skills and the 3 mind states: emotion mind, reasonable mind and wise mind. While in emotion mind, thoughts are controlled solely by emotions. Judgments, assumptions and interpretations are based on the mood of the moment. Emotion mind is strongly influenced by physical illness, fatigue, nutritional habits and use of substances (also referred to as “HALT” – hungry/angry/lonely/tired for those familiar with the recovery acronym). While in reasonable mind, the focus is on distinct facts, details and evidence. Thoughts are logical and rational. There is often a rigidity present as well as a disconnect from emotions. In wise mind information is taken from the emotions present and the evidence seen. Wise mind encompasses an intuitive feeling that is often described as ‘a gut feeling’ or an ‘A-ha moment’. While in wise mind, judgments and assumptions are suspended and the middle path between emotion and reason is sought and taken. Staying present in the moment is a vital part of mindfulness. A favorite mantra of mine to prompt mindful awareness is to “be where your feet are”.A second supportive set of skills are the distress tolerance skills.  These skills are best used when in crisis yet best practiced before experiencing one. They help in learning how to manage what may feel like as a hopeless situation. Distress tolerance skills help those who use them to temporarily tolerate a distressing environment and in using them help to teach how to accept a situation ‘as is’, without trying to change it. These skills teach and encourage use of soothing activities, healthy ways to distract for the moment and to prevent impulsive behaviors from remaining the pattern. Another integral part of recovery overall and over this weekend is to create, contact and connect with a supportive and sober network. This network can play a large part in the success of recovery. As the saying goes: “No (wo)man is an island” and self-imposed avoidance and isolation can be a crushing component to recovery. Avoiding contact, especially over this holiday weekend, may be the difference between successful sobriety and regrettable/remorseful relapse. Due diligence and connect. Finally, accept safe invitations while politely declining others. Use wise mind decisions to help determine which invitations will best support the overall goal of recovery this holiday. Check the facts of the invitation: Who is coming? Will there be families present?  Will there be children? What beverages are being served? What kind of environment is it? More than likely non-alcoholic beverages will be available and there will likely be a variety of age groups especially if it’s a family function.  All of these may connote a supportive environment for sobriety during the weekend festivities.  The goal for this weekend is to enjoy and have fun while being safe and sober.