How to Navigate Social Events in Sobriety
How to Navigate Social Events in Sobriety was a learning experience with much advice coming from other recovering alcoholics I met at Alcoholic Anonymous meetings and paying close attention to my feelings and thoughts.
In early recovery, I avoided going to places that had alcohol like bars and parties that were not a part of the recovery community. Fortunate for me family and friends would put their alcohol beverages away when I would visit.
However, this was difficult to expect during the holiday season I couldn’t expect for family members to put everyone out of their way to please me. Some would have the alcohol in a room and not out in the open as usual. That would be great because I knew to avoid that room but as the hours went by I couldn’t miss the smell of alcohol as people walked pass me or the obvious change of behavior in those who really loved to party if you know what I mean.
My goal was not only to resist drinking but I didn’t want to go through the discomfort of being triggered to want a drink.
Holidays are high relapse time for alcoholics and addicts. That’s why I created this downloadable Holiday Abstinence Checklist to help you or your loved one through any holiday season.
Holidays are not the only time that you may find your sobriety at risk. Events related to your job may make you uncomfortable. Have you ever been to a conference related to your career and alcoholic is served during the meet and greet hour? Do you find yourself questioning if you should leave and what would people think about you if you do leave?
I have spent over twenty years working in the field of alcohol and substance abuse and I have been partnered up with colleagues that have been casual drinkers to the can’t get enough drinker and still I had to get my job done and try to limit my exposure to his/her drinking. No judging just taking care of me.
By my fourth year in recovery, my fear of being around people drinking decreased considerably but I don’t take my sobriety for granted. If you smell strongly of alcohol I have to move on because I don’t like the odor when it is strong and I don’t believe in testing myself. Reality check people do relapse.
5 Tricks to Navigate Social Events in Sobriety
- Keep a cup or bottle of whatever you like to drink in your possession. If you feel yourself desiring something to drink you won’t trick yourself into indulging in something you will regret later. I love to have a bottle of water with me or I order a non-alcoholic beverage. A couple of my favorites are Virgin Pina Colada or a 1/2 glass of Sprite with the other 1/2 being equal parts cranberry and orange juice. Mmmmm Tasty trust me! Let’s not forget the coffee and tea lovers. So many flavors to chose from.
- When you attend any event that will have alcohol stick with people who you know will support who you are and respect your decision. This way you protect yourself from receiving pressure to drink from and innocent person who does not know your story.
- Should someone ask you why you are not drinking keep your answer simple. I just say, “I am allergic to alcohol.” I have never had anyone drill about being allergic. You also state that you prefer to live a healthy lifestyle therefore choosing not to indulge in alcohol.
- A suggestion you will find on the holiday abstinence checklist is to take another sober person with you to an event if you are unsure of yourself. ex. your sponsor or another recovering member of your home group would be ideal.
- When I am away from home attending work related conferences at the end of the workshops, lectures, and dinner those who want to go to the bar do so and I excuse myself simply stating I’m tired, or want to read over the material, etc. I have never had to tell a lie about it. My life is my truth and I encourage you to not make yourself feel uncomfortable because you don’t want to join the crowd. State why you can’t join them and move on. Also if you find that you do want to enjoy them tell them you can’t because you have to make a call. Then go call your sponsor or person in your support network.
Preparation is key to maintaining your sobriety. Think ahead, be honest with yourself, and accept your limitations regardless of how long you have been in recovery.
NOTE: Spring and Summer weather, as well as sporting events, bring forth a celebration spirit. Stay prepared download, print and carry your checklist with you.
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