You Can Still Have a Social Life
When you’re in recovery, every season (and month and week and day) poses its own challenges. Staying on a sober path can be difficult, especially when going out with friends, getting together with family, or going to almost any event. You shouldn’t have to give up your social life to stay sober, and you should definitely not have to compromise your sobriety for your social life.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
All you need is a little preparation and thought. Taking proactive steps and being conscious about your decisions can help maintain your sobriety and keep you on the right path. The next time you’re invited to an event or gathering, follow these tips to reduce your chance of relapse:
Bring your own non-alcoholic beverages. Make sure you have options that you enjoy and that will keep you from wanting something else. Serve yourself. Most of the time, if you have any kind of drink in your hand, you won’t be offered another one.
Use your support system. Utilize the buddy system for parties and bring a friend with you. If you’ll be on your own, like at a work function, ask someone to call you during the event to check in. Have a plan for high-risk situations and let the people who support you know about your plan. This can range from disengaging from a situation to calling your sponsor.
Focus on the good friends: As much as you can, remove people from your life who still drink or use around you. Surround yourself with people aiming for recovery, those who don’t push drinks on you, and friends that are supportive of your recovery journey. Build a healthy social environment!
Take care of yourself: Self care is one of the best tools in your toolbox. Get good sleep, exercise, and eat healthy food. Jot down everything you're grateful for to keep your positivity up. Try doing things that will benefit your mental health, like meditation and prayer. Simple activities like these can boost your confidence and willpower.
Plan sober activities or try hosting. You don’t always have to go out somewhere else to have a social life. Make your own fun by inviting friends and family to something you plan. Schedule an outdoor adventure that doesn’t involve alcohol, go bowling or fishing, or try out crafting or other kinds of classes in your area. You can also invite people to your house, where you can make sure the event is conducive to people in recovery.
HALT. Never get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Check in with yourself and your needs regularly. Recognize these feelings and work hard to prevent them from making you vulnerable to urges.
Put your recovery first. Stay committed. It’s okay to say no to an invitation if it feels too risky. Have strategies in place to remove yourself from stressful or tempting situations. Remember to put yourself first, attend meetings frequently, and surround yourself with supportive people.
No matter the event or outing, alcohol is not necessary to have a good time. There are so many activities available no matter where you live that don’t include drinking or using. Just a few ideas: bowling, hiking, movies, game nights, concerts, sporting events, crafts, yard games, picnics, community events, and the list goes on and on. Just remember to stay strong, utilize your support system, and focus on recovery.
Help is Here
First Step Recovery, a program at The Village, provides outpatient treatment for people who are struggling with substance use. Learn more at TheVillageFamily.org/FirstStep or call 701-451-4900.