Substance Free Fun and Helpful Tips ( If you choose to use)

As summer and warm weather approach us, so do the good times with friends and family. Summer kicks off patio-season, lake days and backyard BBQ’s. Along with the warmer weather, drinking culture often normalizes and glamorizes increased alcohol use. It’s important to remember a few things: (1) It’s possible, normal, and healthy to enjoy summer fun while being sober, (2) If you choose to use, practice harm reduction and be inclusive of those who choose not to use.


Substance-Free Fun

If you’re sober curious, sober-free, in recovery, and/or looking to be a great host with non-alcoholic options, here’s the perfect mocktail for you.


Strawberry Hibiscus Ginger Spritz

Ingredients: 2 oz ginger, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, juice of 1 lime, 1 cup of muddled strawberries, 4 oz of club soda, 1/2 cup of dried hibiscus flowers



  • Make hibiscus syrup by combining 1 cup sugar, 1 cup of water, and 1/2 cup of hibiscus flowers in a small pot and allowing to simmer over medium heat until all of the sugar dissolves.
  • Let syrup cool, then combine lime juice, grated ginger shrub, as much hibiscus syrup as your heart desires, 4 oz of club soda, and smushed strawberries to glass, still and enjoy


If You Choose To Use

For those who do plan on using alcohol during your summer festivities, it’s essential that you know your standard pour measurements and have some harm reduction strategies on deck to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable time.


When mixing/making drinks, it’s easy to forget to measure or track how much alcohol you’re consuming. Having an understanding of the standard pour for each type of drink allows you to keep track of how much you’re drinking, ensuring that you don’t take things past your limit or the recommended health limits.


A standard pour of:

  • Beer is 12 fl oz
  • Wine is 5 fl oz
  • Malt liquor is 8-9 fl oz
  • 80 proof distilled spirits are 1.5fl oz


Being cognizant of how much you’re drinking helps you to stick to any limits that you set for yourself and makes it easier to avoid engaging in binge drinking. Many people are surprised that what counts as binge-drinking is much lower than most expect. For women, binge drinking is having 4 or more drinks in a short period of time; for men, it’s five or more. Also, know that how BAC impacts you will differ according to many factors, including gender and weight. For a helpful tool to gauge how alcohol may be impacting BAC for you, visit this BAC calculator tool.


Other harm reduction strategies to use include:


  • Making a drinking plan ahead of time and setting a limit
  • Tracking your drinks throughout the night
  • Pacing yourself
  • Not mixing alcohol with other substances
  • Staying with friends and only drinking in spaces where you feel safe
  • Having refusal lines prepared
  • Knowing who you can call for help when you need it


Reflecting On Your Use

Remember that our relationship with substances may change over time. Maybe you’ve previously chosen to use alcohol and are now noticing an unhealthy relationship with it. It’s important to continue checking in with ourselves regarding our relationship with alcohol and other substances. Below are some helpful questions to consider.

  • How would I describe my relationship with alcohol?
  • How would I know it’s time to cut down on drinking?
  • How would I know it’s time to quit drinking?
  • Am I engaging in a wide variety of ways to have fun, celebrate, let loose, and socialize? Or is alcohol always involved?
  • Am I engaging in a wide variety of ways to relax, cope with stress, manage emotions, and unwind? Or is alcohol always involved?
  • Where would I turn if I was curious about my relationship with alcohol, concerned I may have a problem, looking for recovery support, or wanting to learn harm reduction strategies? Hint: or email to set an appointment with our Substance Misuse Prevention Specialist.


Getting Help

If you need additional resources or support navigating your relationship with alcohol visit We offer a variety of supports on the topic, including:

  • Peer-led workshops to learn harm reduction strategies and reflect on your use
  • Workshops for those who are living life substance-free
  • 1:1 assessments to explore your relationship with alcohol
  • Collegiate Recovery Community meetings

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