Does being sober now mean that you can’t enjoy social gatherings? Some people believe that it does mean exactly that, and they should stay away from any party where there might be alcohol served. But that’s not the way to a healthy life. Sooner or later, there is going to be someone enjoying an alcoholic beverage. This means that two things have to change: your mindset, and your goals. You can’t make it a goal to never be around drinkers, because our culture assumes that adults are going to enjoy alcoholic beverages. You need to shift your thinking towards being comfortable in your own skin and your own beliefs, even if you’re surrounded by people that have different beliefs.
There are three strong ways to handle social interactions while recovering from a drinking problem:
First, you need to understand that your problem isn’t everyone else’s problem. This means that while other people may be able to handle a few drinks, you already know that this isn’t you. And that’s totally okay: after all, you’re not the only person struggling with alcohol abuse issues. Plenty of people find that they just can’t handle alcohol, and they tend to crave it. We do not recommend mixed-company (that is, interacting at parties with drinkers) until you’re consistently sober. Reaching the year mark is great, because you can really see what a sober life looks like.
Next, you need to be open and honest with your closest friends. They can often accompany you to the party and be a sober buddy, which will make you feel less like you stand out and more like you’re just there to be social. You need to be able to disconnect alcohol from your social activities. Playing pool or just talking to great friends can help you do that. If you start having cravings or being uncomfortable, your sober friend can simply take you home or to another safe place.
Finally, you need to make sure that you have something non-alcoholic to drink. If the party is being handled by a bartender, then you can just say that you’re sober and you want something else to drink. Many times the bartender will give you free or very affordable drinks because everyone else is buying the expensive stuff. If you want to make your party meaningful, offer to be a designated driver. Once you have people counting on you not to drink, it’s easier to make that decision.
The road to sober living for life isn’t easy, and there will be pitfalls and challenges along the way. Building a strong support group is the way to go. You’re never alone as long as you lean on y our support team and believe that tomorrow will be a better day than the last. Good luck to all of you!