Staying Sober Through Social Gatherings

Staying Sober Through Social Gatherings

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by Erin Oden, ASW, Clinical Director

Taking the leap to being clean and sober is one of the most pivotal decisions someone might make in his or her life. It oftentimes is a decision that is made following extreme personal detriment or emotional pain, due to the consequences of drinking and using. This ‘bottom’ as it is termed, can lead to confidence in one’s path of recovery, and oftentimes leads to personal empowerment in the process. However, one fear that many people in early recovery come to experience is how they will deal with and approach social situations without drinking or using. Whether your co-workers are inviting you out for happy hour drinks, your best friend is getting married or your brother invites you to a baseball game, you CAN get through the day without risking your sobriety. Here are four tips to help you get through any social situation in a safe and sober manner:

Plan Ahead

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” -Benjamin Franklin.

Ask questions before the event. Who will be there, what food and beverages will be served, what activities will there be to participate in, other than drinking? In answering these questions you will be able to assess if it is a safe environment for you to visit. You will also be able to plan for how you will safely get through the event.

Bring Sober Support

If it is appropriate and you are able, bring a sober friend. This is a fool-proof way to have someone to help hold you accountable throughout the day. Plus, I guarantee you will find that your conversations are more authentic, and you may even get a few more laughs while joking about the ways you used to behave at events like this!

Always Have a Way Out

Make sure you drive yourself or have your phone to call an Uber or cab service. Don’t ever find yourself relying on someone else as your ride – even if it is your own tee-totalling mother – as you may find yourself stuck while she is in deep conversation with your theatrical great-aunt. If you ever feel triggered to use, thank the host of the event for having you and head on toward the rest of your sober life. One party is never worth your recovery!

“No” is a complete sentence.

If you do not feel that you are safe or comfortable at an event or around substance use, put your life and your recovery first, and just let them know that you are going to opt out this time. Anyone who cares about you will understand. And, anyone who does not understand or is bothered by your response, most likely does not truly have your best interest at heart.

At the end of the day, no one else will truly understand and cherish the value of your recovery in the way that you do. Remember that your sobriety is precious, and it is up to you to treat it as such. And if you do, your full and beautiful life will be the main event worth waiting for!





by Erin Oden, ASW, Clinical Director