By Sandy Baker
Summertime & Sobriety
The summer months bring with them the opportunity to spend time with friends and family. It’s the season for parties and backyard hangouts well into the evening. What should you do if you want to attend such an event but are also working on your sobriety? How do you deal with being around others who are drinking?
When the event is not at your home, you cannot control what is served or what others bring with them. On the other hand, it’s not necessarily healthy to avoid all social events. If you know that the people who are throwing the party respect you and your desire to stay sober, it might be worth your while to engage with others socially, even if that means being exposed to alcohol.
Sobriety Strategies: Tips for Managing Your Sobriety in Social Situations
What will help is developing a few sobriety strategies to deal with these types of situations in a positive manner. You don’t have to be afraid of the substance, but you do have to be confident in your ability to refrain from using it.
Let People Know What You’re Facing
When spending time with friends, open up about what you’re worried about feeling or experiencing. Tell them how much your sobriety means to you. Ask them to respect that and not offer you a drink or encourage you to drink. Communicate with your close friends about what your needs are.
Know Whom to Trust
During drug and alcohol addiction recovery, you’ll learn more about choosing relationships carefully. Some people simply may not understand your goal to remain sober. Whenever possible, try to avoid encounters with those who are not supportive or those who you believe want to push you to drink. If you have people like this in your life, it may be essential to put space between you.
Don’t Want to Tell Anyone? Pretend
If you are going to a family reunion and you don’t want people to know about your recovery, don’t tell them. Instead, bring a virgin drink with you that looks like an alcoholic beverage. If someone asks you about a drink, tell them you already have one.
Simply Say No
At any type of event, you can make a simple statement that most people will respect: “I’m not drinking tonight.” You don’t have to provide anyone with any additional information. If you’re asked about a drink, repeat that statement.
Have a Mental Game Plan in Mind
While you may be focused on what other people think or how you’ll react when someone asks you to drink, it’s also important to be prepared mentally for what you’re about to take on – exposure to a substance that could cost you everything you’ve worked for over the last few months and years.
- Don’t attend any event if you don’t feel like you can remain sober. If you’re unsure or lack confidence in your ability to refrain, don’t go. Instead, go to a local meeting to talk about what you’re feeling.
- Remind yourself what you’ve accomplished through treatment. It’s hard work! It’s something you should be proud of achieving. Remember these accomplishments and just how much you’ve benefited from sobriety.
- You could feel awkward, especially if this is the first time you’re around other people drinking. Know that you may feel a bit of anxiety or stress initially. Try to focus on the people at the event and not on what they’re drinking.
- Keep busy. Actively seek out conversations. Help the hostess. Organize a game. Play with the kids. Keeping yourself distracted from the alcohol can help you get through the event.
- Avoid people, places, or things that make you feel nostalgic about using. If you find yourself reminiscing about your use, that’s an indication you may need to seek out therapy.
Bring someone along with you who can help you manage difficult situations or help get you out of a difficult conversation when needed. It also helps to have someone there who understands your circumstances and can help you escape if the pressure begins to be too much.
Sobriety Strategies: Know When It’s Time to Leave
Negative thoughts, frustrating moments, and confrontations with people you simply do not want to engage with can make you uneasy. Give yourself permission at any time to simply leave. You can have a friend call your phone to provide an excuse for you to leave. It’s also possible just to excuse yourself without reason. No one needs to know what’s happening.
Are You Struggling to Remain Sober?
When the summer’s parties and events begin to cost you confidence, seek out treatment right away. Don’t wait until you’re using again to get help. Instead, connect with our team now to get into therapy that can help to change your future. Our alcohol addiction treatment center in Lubbock, TX, is available to support your long-term goals.