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.