With concerts, festivals, and other gatherings now being scheduled again, the challenge of navigating social events without drinking or using them once again arises. These situations often feel triggering, especially for individuals in early recovery. For some, this may be their first time attending social events sober if they recently entered recovery sometime in the past year during the pandemic.
Mentally preparing yourself before attending one of these social events is the first step to being ready for the emotions that might come up. Before you get to the event, visualize yourself having a good time and being fun without needing alcohol or drugs. Take out any of the false beliefs in your mind that you will feel isolated or everyone will notice that you aren’t drinking. Choose your intention for the event, like catching up with old friends and enjoying their company or wanting to dance all night long.
Once you’ve mentally prepared yourself to feel comfortable not drinking, follow some of the tips below at the event:
- Drink something non-alcoholic – Depending on the event, you can bring a drink of your own like ginger beer, order a mocktail or go for the classic soda water and lime. Having something to hold and sip on may help ease your tension about everyone else drinking something.
- Be honest about your sobriety with close friends or family – It doesn’t have to be advertised to everyone that you are sober, but having someone close to you know will help keep you accountable, and they can ward off others from persuading you to drink.
- Have an exit plan – There may come a point later in the night when everyone is painfully drunk, and you don’t want to be caught in the middle of it. Whether your preferred exit strategy is leaving without saying “good-bye” or having an excuse for leaving, it is important to put your needs first so you don’t find yourself craving alcohol.
- Find other sober people there – If you happen to know anyone at the event that is also sober, then talking to them can help you feel supported in your commitment and less like you are the only one not drinking.
- Have stock phrases ready if someone presses you to drink – Some ideas can be “I’m cutting back on my drinking” or “I’m driving tonight and don’t want to risk drinking.” Transparency is always an option if you are comfortable with it and can even make you feel empowered about your decision.
Navigating social events newly sober can feel painful at first. Having the right tools ready when temptations or cravings strike is essential to staying sober. If you or a loved one is struggling to get or remain sober, call Avalon Malibu. At Avalon, we specialize in treating substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders at our state-of-the-art treatment center in Southern California. We provide an individualized approach to treatment, offering a continuum of holistic and clinical treatment options for our patients. If you are ready to begin your path to recovery, call us today at (844) 857-5992.