Recovery from addiction is a journey, and it does involve lifestyle changes, but it doesn’t mean you’re destined for a life spent alone. Socializing in recovery is possible as long as you plan ahead and consider your options. You can still celebrate with friends and go out and enjoy yourself; it just may look a little different than before you were in recovery.
While it may seem easier to resist temptation by simply sheltering in place at home and declining any party invites, this can actually have its risks as well in terms of boredom and loneliness (which can both be triggers for relapse). Learn how to socialize in recovery without giving up your sobriety and turning to substance use.
Have a Plan
During the holidays, parties abound. You’re likely to be invited to gatherings where you know alcohol will be available. If you’re feeling confident in your recovery and want to attend, go for it. Just be prepared with some ways to politely decline alcoholic drink offers and ideas for alcohol substitutes. Many cocktails can be made non-alcoholic, or you can opt for soft drinks, sparkling ciders, soda water with fresh lemon or mint, or other tasty options. Hold on to your drink so you don’t accidentally pick up someone else’s alcoholic beverage, or get a fresh drink if you’re unsure.
Keep Your Support Group Close
Finding holiday recovery socializing help can be easier with friends who don’t drink themselves or who support your substance-free lifestyle. You can enjoy yourself a little more knowing they’ll have your back and help you fend off aggressive drink offers from other party-goers. Surround yourself with people who support your recovery and will help you stay accountable. Attending support group meetings before or after events can be helpful too. Many addiction treatment centers offer therapy groups to keep you motivated and on track.
First In, First Out
Many drinking problems become more evident as the night wears on and people consume more alcohol than they should. This can make holiday socializing in recovery challenging. Show up early as the party is just beginning because the majority of people are likely to still be sober. If you realize that people are becoming intoxicated and rowdy, politely excuse yourself and go home or hang out with friends elsewhere. You don’t have to stay at a party where others are drinking heavily and you feel uncomfortable or tempted to drink yourself.
A Sober Party
If you know there will be a strong focus on drinking at a party, it might be best to simply decline the invite. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun socializing in recovery. Call up some supportive friends and find various sober events to attend. Look for opportunities to dance, listen to music, play games, or do other activities. You could also host your own movie night or get together so you’re more in control of the environment and know your sobriety won’t be put in jeopardy.
Learning how to socialize in recovery can take some time and practice, but figure out what works best for you and what you’re comfortable with. Perhaps there are certain questions you ask ahead of time, specific friends you invite along, or a favorite non-alcoholic drink you keep on hand. Holiday recovery socializing help is easier with friends who understand your needs and goals.
Don’t let fear keep you from holiday socializing in recovery. Plan ahead and know how you’ll respond in different situations, whether that means shifting the topic of conversation or leaving all together. Remember that outpatient recovery care from Crossroads can help you to stay focused and work through challenges in an effective way. Whether you’re reaching out for help for the first time, engaging in ongoing treatment, or recovering from a slip, Crossroads is here for you along each step of the way.