One of the most obvious ways of staying sober after recovery is by avoiding temptation, that is, staying away from all alcohol and situations where it might be present.
When you start to think of all the places alcohol is present – restaurants, weddings, parties, concerts, your friends’ backyard barbeque – it starts to sound like the only alcohol-free place is your own home. You might be asking, shouldn’t recovery prepare me for more than just that?
Well, you’re definitely right. Recovery isn’t just about overcoming an addiction to alcohol, it’s about learning how to integrate back into the routines and events of normal, everyday life without falling into past bad habits. Recovery isn’t about saying no to everything fun, living in fear and not trusting yourself. On the contrary, it’s about being so secure in your recovery and so rooted in a life of freedom that situations involving alcohol fail to be as tempting as they once were.
That being said, it’s always good to practice some good self control in these situations and be sure to not push yourself further than you’re ready or willing to go.
Talk to your friends
Having an open and honest conversation with your friends about why you’ve chosen to remain sober can be very helpful. Be sure to have the conversation with them before you find yourselves out at a bar, and their alcohol consumption leads them into peer pressure.
Talking with them ahead of time allows them to see your side of the situation, and possibly will encourage them to help you stay committed throughout the evening. In addition, it will provide an opportunity for them to ask you questions about why you wish to remain sober, or how long you’re going to be abstaining from alcohol.
Prepare yourself for reactions
If your friends are people who frequently drink, your decision to quit might be threatening to them; they might view it as an indirect comment on their own habits and feel judged or shameful by your choice, not by anything you might or might not have said. Be prepared for reactions of self defense, confusion or dissatisfaction. While some friends might be completely supportive of your choices, others might experience anxiety around it, especially if the friendship relies heavily on the title of “drinking buddies.”
Order something else to drink
When you are out with your friends or socializing at a party, it definitely can feel more natural to have a drink in your hand. Ordering a soda or even a virgin beverage will help you feel less awkward, plus it’ll give you something to do with your hands – very important during potentially uncomfortable small talk conversations. And if someone offers to get you a drink, don’t feel any shame in saying “No thanks, it’s just soda for me.”
Have a wingman
Whether you’ve chosen to disclose your sobriety to friends or not, it’s always a good idea to have a wingman, someone who knows you’re abstaining from alcohol and who can serve as an accountability partner throughout the evening. Having a previous agreement with them, where they come and check on you periodically or who you go to when you feel tempted, can be incredibly helpful in keeping you committed to your sobriety.
Remind yourself why you don’t do that anymore
If everyone around you is drinking and you feel tempted to enter in, remind yourself of where you’ve come from and the journey you’ve walked towards recovery. It’s easy to forget when you’re wrapped up in the moment that all it could take is one drink to send you back to the beginning. When you remind yourself: 1) how far you’ve come, and 2) how one drink is absolutely not worth it, you can keep yourself grounded and give yourself the strength to simply say no.
Dip out early
Sometimes the temptation is too great or the party is too wild and you just don’t want to be there anymore. That’s absolutely okay. No one says you can’t leave early. In fact, it would be better to leave early and risk disappointing people than to threaten your recovery by staying in a tempting, rowdy environment. While it’s good and healthy to learn how to be present in situations involving alcohol, it’s never good to push yourself further than you’re ready or put your recovery at risk.
Find a supportive group of people
At Real Recovery Sober Living, it’s all about learning how to live a life of adventure and fun while remaining sober. Being sober isn’t supposed to suck the joy out of everything, rather, it’s about learning how to embrace the freedom that comes from a life of sobriety. Regardless, there are still challenging times, moments of difficulty, but that’s what communities are for. Sober support groups, such as those found at Real Recovery offer support and encouragement throughout the whole recovery process, giving those striving to remain sober a firm foundation from which to grow.
To learn more or reach out to a support group, contact Real Recovery Sober Living today at 855-363-7325.