Staying sober can be essentially challenging when in social situations surrounded by family. Do you share that you are sober now? How do handle people offering you alcohol?
We're going to give you 5 great sobriety tips for staying sober at your next family reunion.
1. Make a Plan
Prepare before the reunion what you are going to do when someone offers you a drink. You are at a gathering where people will be drinking and partying, so someone will most likely offer you a drink.
You don't owe anyone an explanation on why you are getting clean. Come up with a response and stick to it so that you aren't tempted.
A great way to prevent the whole situation from happening is to grab a water or soda early on. People are less likely to offer you a drink if they see you already have one in hand.
2. Why Aren't You Drinking?
If someone does offer you a drink a natural question will be why you aren't drinking. Now it's your family, maybe they already know you are sober.
If this is the case you can politely remind them that you are sober now. Or you can say that you realized you had a problem and decided it would be best to stop drinking.
If you aren't comfortable talking about trying to stay sober, there are plenty of other responses you can have at the ready. For example, you could say that you just don't feel like drinking.
You could say that you are the designated driver for others, which is mostly a true statement anyway. You could say that your current diet or medication prevents you from drinking.
3. Set a Time Limit and an Out
Family situations can be stressful. This is especially true when it is a large family reunion where there are more than a normal amount of family members in one place.
Setting a time limit for yourself can help you cope with the situation while you're in it. It will also limit the amount of time you spend in a situation that may cause you stress and trigger you to want to drink.
Preparing your out in advance ensures that when you've hit your limit and you need to leave, you can. If you drive yourself, then you're set.
If you drove to the reunion with others, or the reunion is where you are staying, you need an alternate plan. Maybe this means you arrange with a friend to be available to come get you.
You could have uber at the ready to get a ride. If the reunion is at a destination you can scope the place out before you go.
Look for options that allow you to "take a time out" from the situation. This could be at the destination or a nearby coffee shop.
4. Get a Buddy
Have someone that you trust be with you at the family reunion to help hold you accountable for your sobriety. It is a lot easier to stay sober when there is someone else there.
This is especially true if you are early on in your sobriety when temptations are stronger and easier to fall for. Don't think it has to be a family member, you could bring a significant other or close friend.
5. Avoid People Pleasing
Remember that just because they are your family doesn't mean you should feel obligated. Do not feel like you need to do anything you are not comfortable doing.
It can be tough to stay strong when you are facing a group, but remember that you and your sobriety are more important. Think about what situations make you uncomfortable and prepare yourself to say no to them.
We all know who that "toxic" family member is, we all have one. Limit your time with these family members as they will increase your stress and risk level.
If you can't avoid them, try planning on limiting your time at the reunion. Only go for a day or two instead of the whole week.
6. Have Realistic Expectations
Life and people aren't perfect, so set realistic expectations for your family reunion. Your family members probably haven't made major changes.
The conflicts that popped up in the past will probably pop up again. Accept them, take ownership of your role, and let it go.
Resist the urge to try and control the situation and others. You can't control how other people are.
7. Plan Activities
Don't let yourself end up sitting around for hours with family drinking and talking. There are plenty of other activities you can do with your family that doesn't involve drinking.
Don't let yourself fall into romanticising alcohol. When family members start bringing up the past and romanticising drunken events, remove yourself.
8. Find the Local Meeting
Before you go to the family reunion, locate when and where the local AA meetings are held. This will be the support system you need when the family starts becoming too much.
If you already know when and where the meeting is you remove the excuse of not knowing. You'll most likely need to go to a meeting after being surrounded by all of your family for extended periods of time.
The smartest thing you can do when staying sober at a family reunion is to make a plan and prepare for your family reunion. Get your responses ready for the tough questions, and remember that you don't owe anyone any explanations.
Know where your out is, and where you can go if you need a break from the situation. Look up where the local meetings are.
Check out these great meditation tips you can take with you and use at your next family reunion.