Sober Socializing: Protect Your Sobriety Without Missing Out


By Michelle Peterson

Back in the day, you loved to party. Whether you got drunk or high, it was how you had fun. Well, not really. It took you a while to realize it, but substance abuse was an attempt to run away from problems, and it wasn’t very successful. Eventually, you realized you wanted (and needed) to stay sober.

After some hard work, you managed it. You began your new life in addiction recovery, and you’re rightfully proud of what you’ve accomplished. But then you hear about the party. It sounds fun and repulsive at the same time. Can you have a social life while in addiction recovery?

Definitely! There’s absolutely no reason why you have to be a hermit. You just need to take some precautions and make a plan to ensure a sober social life.

Avoiding Temptation on Vacation

One of the riskiest social gatherings, when you are in addiction recovery, is the vacation. Normally, these are escapes from the pressure of the working world. You have to cut loose and let off a little steam. That used to mean getting drunk, high, or both. Now that you’re sober, how can you avoid temptation while on vacation?

First, start by recognizing not all vacations are the same. Some are more likely to lead to a relapse than others. A class reunion, where everyone drinks, for example, is riskier than a vacation to a national park. But pay attention to your own history. If for instance, you used to get drunk at beach parties all the time, you probably want to head to the mountains instead.

One great tip is to bring along a book or audiobook that’s related to recovery and take a few quiet moments when you’re on vacation to enjoy them. There are even podcasts available to help you remember why you got sober in the first place.

You will also want to stay in contact with sober friends back home. Sometimes, a kind word from them can help you avoid temptation.

Navigating Family Gatherings

Ah, family. They are the rock people cling to during turbulent times. But they’re also a big reason people drink in the first place. From dealing with those out-of-control nephews to that uncle who can’t stop talking about politics, you will face the temptation to go off the wagon just to deal with it all.

Before you go to any family event, make sure you have a solid exit strategy. That’s more than just an excuse! You need to know when to leave and how you can get out of there. If you’re driving anyone there, make sure they’re on board with leaving if needed — or that they can at least find another way home. You should even practice what you are going to say when things start to get out of hand.

You also need to practice what to say when people ask obvious and sometimes rude questions about your new sobriety. A few might tease you about it in a weak attempt at being funny. Others might just have no idea what to say to you.

Take Control By Planning Your Own Events

If things sound a bit dicey at other people’s parties, why not start your own? This way, you can control what goes on — and what is served.

You can play the right music, invite sober friends, break out games (board, video, outdoor, whatever), and focus on making some delicious non-alcoholic drinks that make people want to come to your parties.

You Got This

Avoiding temptation is not always easy. Just keep in mind why you got sober in the first place. Then by taking a few precautions above, you can stay sober and still be the life of the party — or at least have a good time.


Meadows Senior Fellows Featured at U.S. Journal Training Conference

Mental Health conference

For behavioral health professionals, The U.S. Journal Training Conferences are some of most highly anticipated events of the year. Each even in their conference series gathers internationally-renowned experts and thought leaders to share their latest discoveries and insights into the human mind.

This year’s 4th Annual National Conference on TRAUMA, Addiction, and Intimacy Disorders in Nashville, Tenn., is certainly no exception. We are proud to be sponsors of this year’s conference and honored to have three of our Senior Fellows among the distinguished presenters.

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

On Wednesday, May 3, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk will open the conference with his keynote, “Trauma, Body, and the Brain: Restoring the Capacity for Synchronicity and Imagination.” He will explain how recovery from trauma involves learning how to restore a sense of visceral safety and reclaiming a loving relationship with one’s self, one’s entire organism.

Dr. Kevin McCauley

On Thursday, May 4, Dr. Kevin McCauley will present “The Brain and Recovery: An Update on the Neuroscience of Addiction.” This lecture will summarize the most current neuroscientific research about addiction—research that explains how the brain constructs pleasurable experiences, what happens when this process goes wrong, and why this can have a dramatic impact on our ability to make proper choices.

Dr. Shelley Uram

Also on Thursday, May 4, Dr. Shelley Uram will present “Essential Living: A Guide to Having Happiness and Peace by Reclaiming Your Essential Self.” Her presentation will explore ways that we can find who we are at our very essence, how our ancient survival brain areas pull our attention away from this essence at a very young age, and how to get it back.

These three Senior Fellows help train our staff at The Meadows to be some of the best therapists, counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists working in the field today. We’re confident that those who attend their presentations will walk away with new insights, and new approaches to apply in their practices and in their own lives.