As the spring turns to summer, social events begin to take precedence in our lives.
We'll get to cherish time with loved ones and friends while creating brand new memories.
But for many in recovery, social events are synonymous with stress. But being sober doesn't need to be equated with being a shut-in. In fact, going out and being social can be beneficial to your mental well-being!
But even if you do feel pressured, you don't have to give up your sobriety for a few minutes of fun.
We value you and your sobriety, so we've come up with some easy tips on how to stay sober at your next social event.
How to Stay Sober: Easy Tips for Social Events
Prepare Yourself Before the Event
Let's face it: social situations can come with a lot of pressure. Especially as you look around and see everyone else drinking and imbibing. You may fear that your sobriety will make you stand out.
If you're not quite sure how to stay sober, remember that you and your health always come first. Part of knowing how to stay sober is knowing you and your triggers. You'll be tempted, but you won't have to give in.
Take a moment and be still.
Grab a piece of paper or notebook, and jot down how you feel at the party. If you want to go digital, a note on your phone should suffice as well.
When you're at the event itself, take a few moments to jot down how you're feeling. Are you feeling tempted? Happy? Scared?
The important aspect is that you're keeping track of your feelings.
You'll see us mention feelings a lot, but we have a pretty good reason for repeating ourselves. If you're not aware of yourself at the moment, it can be easy to slip up.
Finally, jot down some thoughts the day after the event as well. When you exit the party sober, you'll have a great reminder of your victory!
It's critical to remember that no victory is too small when it comes to you and your sobriety. Any victory is a victory nonetheless!
Come Up With a Personal Mantra
If this seems a bit 'out there' to you, just go with us. Those of us in recovery should always take a moment for affirmation.
Relapsing is easy, and if coming up with a personal mantra helps, who's to say it's silly?
Before the social gathering, try and establish a personal mantra for the night. When you feel like you may want to give in to temptation, just recite the mantra to yourself to keep calm.
If you're unsure of what mantra suits you best, here are a few examples to help get you started.
- I am strong and I will remain strong.
- I matter and my sobriety matters.
- I don't need substances to be the life of the party, people like me for who I am.
- Everyone is fighting their own battles. There's nothing wrong with struggling.
If none of these sound up your alley, check out our wristbands for some stylish inspiration
Bring a Sober Friend
Having a sober friend with you can be a lifesaver for a number of reasons.
First, they'll understand your struggle. If possible, try and bring someone from your AA or NA meeting. They know how difficult sobriety can be and can help ease the burden.
Having someone with you can also take some of the anxiousness away from social situations.
As a recovering addict, you're likely feeling all sorts of emotions you haven't felt in forever. This is a natural albeit rough part of recovery.
You may not be used to interacting with others without the aid of substances. You may feel nervous and uncomfortable doing so, in fact. That's where your sober friend comes in.
They'll stick with you and keep you social. You'll always have someone to talk to -- even if you don't know anyone at the party!
Finally, they'll keep you accountable. Should you feel the need to sneak away or give in to temptation, they'll be there to talk you down.
Be Upfront With the Host(s)
But it may not always be possible to get a sobriety buddy to attend the event with you. In that case, why not hang around the host? Part of knowing how to stay sober is being honest, after all.
You may feel better if you talk to host or hosts beforehand. Take them aside when you arrive, or shoot them a text before.
It doesn't need to be anything extensive or personal, just be honest with them.
You can say something like:
"Hey, thanks for inviting me! I wanted to let you know that my sobriety is taking priority these days. Is it alright if I stick with you tonight?"
They'll appreciate your openness, and if they're a true friend, will happily let you tag along.
You'll get to reconnect with friends, meet new ones, and stay sober all at once. What could be more fun?
Prepare Your Own Drinks
Here's an easy way to main your sobriety.
Just make sure that you're in control of your beverages throughout the event. It can be easy for a friend or family member to slip up and forget about your sobriety.
Don't leave your sobriety in anyone's hands but your own.
Always have your drink in your own hands and pour your own beverages if possible. If that isn't an option, be sure you're around when someone prepares your drinks.
Know When to Leave
This is perhaps our most pertinent tip. There's no shame in needing to leave a party if you feel overwhelmed. After all, part of staying sober is leaving behind dangerous situations.
That's why it's a good idea to have an exit strategy planned ahead of time just in case. You'd rather be safe than sorry, right?
Before you arrive at the gathering, come up with some lines you absolutely won't cross. It can be different for every person.
For some, watching people bring out alcohol or drugs can be too much.
For others, it may be a triggering smell.
It's all about knowing your limits and knowing yourself. If you feel like there's too much pressure, there's nothing wrong with getting the heck out of Dodge.
Knowing how to stay sober and doing so can be tremendous tasks. Now that you've made it through your social event sober, congratulate yourself!