Addiction can be isolating, but alcoholism recovery doesn’t have to be. Just because you are eliminating alcohol from your life doesn’t mean you also need to eliminate your social life. However, since some social events can involve alcohol, you might be thinking about a few things before accepting an alcohol-infused social gathering.
- Will I enjoy myself without alcohol?
- What will people think if I’m not drinking?
- Will I be able to refrain from drinking?
- Will I feel out of place?
When you first embark on your recovery journey, you will want to avoid any situation that includes alcohol or drugs. Since you’re new to recovery and recently released from alcohol rehab, these events can cause cravings and trigger a relapse. If you’re not struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs but still attempting to reduce your alcohol intake, being in an atmosphere that provides alcohol might be a little easier for you. However, having the plan to prevent being triggered to use drugs or alcohol is still the safest method.
Be Upfront from Alcoholism Recovery
Honesty is the best policy. If you are planning to refrain from drinking, you must first let others know. This way, it eliminates the questions and the pressure at the time of the event. You can choose how much info you wish to share and with whom you share it but only go to the event with someone who understands why you are abstaining from alcohol intake. Of course, you don’t need a reason not to drink, and no explanation is required but having peer support in your decision is a helpful tool in maintaining your sobriety. Being upfront may also help to eliminate some future drinking-focused social gatherings. If your friends or colleagues know that you are not interested in drinking or being surrounded by it, they will choose alternative ways to spend time with you.
Are you or someone you care about battling with alcohol or drug addiction? Contact SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on addiction support and addiction treatment facilities near you.
Prepare for Criticism
People choose not to drink alcohol for various reasons, including health, finances, religion, fitness, and alcoholism. Some people will support your decision not to drink, some might be empowered by it, and others will respond negatively. For the ones that respond negatively, it may be because your sobriety makes them feel wrong about the amount of alcohol they consume, they might be concerned with their ability to socialize without that liquid courage, or they might assume that you being sober will be different. Being prepared for any reaction will set you up for success because you’ll be prepared to respond ahead of time:
- Peer Pressure: Your friends and colleagues may suggest, “one drink won’t hurt.”
- Name Calling: You may be subjected to name-calling or teasing to get you to break your sobriety.
- Seduction: Someone may buy you a drink and hand it to you, making it harder to say no. Someone may buy a round of shots and try to demand that you do one.
- Argument: Someone unhappy with your sobriety may create an argument insinuating that you aren’t drinking for a different reason. If they keep pushing the issue and carrying on, they may get you to break down and drink.
Another few things that may occur as a result of your sobriety are:
- Less Invites: If you want to drink once the bar closes, people looking for that drinking buddy may not call you to go out with them.
- Labeled: If alcohol is one of the main focuses of the group you hang with, you may get labeled as the “sober one” or “non-drinker.”
- Designated Driver: Now that you’re sober, everyone may expect you to be at their disposal to be the designated driver.
These occurrences may change some of your friendships, and that’s okay. Your sobriety will also cause you to meet new people and develop new friendships. AA is a great place to meet new people who share your goals. Your decision to be sober benefits your health and overall quality of life, so why would you want to hang around with people who don’t support that decision? Your true friends will be the ones willing to hang out with you without alcohol having to be present.
One of the most surefire ways to remove the temptation to drink is to avoid places that serve alcohol. Some of the most accessible venues for this are coffee houses, libraries, parks, fast food joints, and museums. There are also a lot of sober bars popping up all over the country as well. You can always research before making plans to decrease the odds that alcohol will be present.
Develop a Few Go-To Replies
Suppose recovery has taught you one thing: you can’t control stuff that’s out of your immediate control, such as venues that serve alcohol or people’s homes that contain alcohol. This is why it is a fab idea to have your responses in check to avoid fumbling for a reply on why you’re not drinking or can’t attend.
To be prepared to respond, it’s good to have a few responses ready, so you can quickly turn down an invite or request a drink. Here are some easy options:
- Thank you, but I don’t drink.
- I’m not much of a drinker.
- I quit drinking for a while.
- I have blood work in the morning.
- I’m watching my calories.
- I’m participating in a sober curious movement.
- I’m driving tonight, so no drinks for me.
- I decided to quit alcohol for a while and began to love it. So I don’t plan to start any time soon.
While an explanation isn’t necessary, it often feels better to provide one and set the boundary instead of running the risk of being asked or offered continuously.
BYOB Non-Alcoholic Drink
Bring your beverage to where ever you’re going; this way, you have committed to what you intend to drink. You can choose to bring iced tea, flavored seltzer, non-alcoholic beer, or non-alcoholic spirit. It’s helpful to commit ahead and have the product at your disposal. Having your drink also makes declining the offer of one a lot easier too.
Sober is Fun
Don’t view sober as dull. It is enjoyable to be sober. You have control over everything you’re saying and doing. You will feel a lot healthier the following day too! A positive mindset is essential because a negative one will prevent you from having the fun you deserve. Initially, it may feel awkward being the only one not drinking, but it will be your regular time. Change is scary, but not all change is bad. Enter every situation with a positive mindset, and make the best use of your time, even if you’re the only one not consuming alcohol. Being sober will be more enjoyable than you predicted.
Have an Exit Plan
If you go somewhere and begin to feel overwhelmed by the urge to drink, you want to be prepared to leave immediately. Have the phone number for your sponsor or your alcohol detox treatment center in new jersey available so you can quickly receive the assistance you need. Triggers are not always places; they could be a person, a smell, or an emotion. Regardless of how well-equipped you may be for potential triggers, there’s no way to guarantee you won’t feel overwhelmed, so having an exit strategy prepared might come in handy:
- You have an early morning workout class.
- You’re not feeling well.
- You have to stop by another event.
- You have to work.
If you’re in recovery, feel on edge, or are experiencing alcohol cravings craving alcohol even after you leave the event, be sure to contact the Avatar Residential Detox Center, an alcohol addiction center in New Jersey.
Plan an Early Start
Register ahead of time for an early morning fitness class to prevent you from being swayed to stay out late or be tempted to drink. One of the best gifts of recovery is not being hungover the day after an event, so get up and enjoy it.
Try New Things With Your Friends
The recovery community is extensive, and it’s growing. Try new things with your friends in recovery. Listen to new podcasts, go to new restaurants and try new activities like yoga. There’s a whole world out there that you need to experience alcohol-free. Without alcohol, you can create some memorable memories and enjoy each other’s company.
Find Sober Friends
You may feel more comfortable hanging out with people that have also completed an alcohol detox or alcohol treatment program. You may need to modify your social circle to include people who don’t drink. Changing social habits might seem difficult at first, but you’ll learn through the alcohol addiction treatment process that avoiding people, places, and things that create a desire for you to drink should be avoided at all costs. Sobriety is becoming the new normal, and there are a lot of people similar to you that are not interested in drinking. Places you can find people that may have an interest in remaining sober are:
Once you find a group of people that enjoy not drinking as much as you do, you’ll also see that you can begin to do things that you used not to be able to enjoy when you were sober such as snowboarding, going to the beach, vacation, hiking, game night, weddings, etc. the list goes on and on.
We Repeat What We Don’t Repair
Reflect on past experiences and reflect on recent experiences. If you’re unhappy with how something played out or how you felt, make sure you change it to increase your odds of success and the outcome you’re looking for. Being sober has many advantages; taking it one day at a time will find that sobriety has always been the best option.
If you or someone you know hasn’t decided to enter an alcohol detox treatment center and has questions about where to begin, contact Avatar Residential Detox Center today at (973)-774-7222 and begin your journey toward recovery.