Staying Sober Even When Your Friends Aren’t

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The decision to stay sober is one focus of addiction recovery. All of an individual’s goals and strategies are based on the idea that one’s use of addictive substances is behind them. This profound decision is something that is to be celebrated. 

However, making this decision for oneself doesn’t necessarily mean that one’s friends or family members are making that same choice. There may be times when friends and family members will engage with these addictive substances. This can prove to be a challenging hurdle for those in recovery, and learning the skills to stay sober, even when one’s friends or family aren’t, is a testament to one’s dedication to their own sobriety. 

Make Intentions Clear

One’s decision to remain sober shouldn’t take anyone by surprise. However, it may be necessary to reinforce this intention clearly before going anywhere with friends or family who haven’t taken the same oath of abstinence from drugs or alcohol. If one is invited to a party or outing of any kind, it may be important to reaffirm these intentions to remain sober for several reasons so that all involved are on the same page. 

The practice of stating “I’m staying sober” before going out can first help instill the notion into one’s own head before leaving the safety of their living space. Saying this to oneself and noticing that one’s own self-assuredness is wavering can be the first indication that the stress of the situation may be too much on a particular day, and it may be necessary to sit out on this particular gathering. Choosing to stay sober and not put oneself in a compromising, high-risk situation is a skill on its own and sometimes is just the safest thing to do. 

However, making one’s intentions clear each time before a person heads out with friends or family can also help to mitigate questions that one may receive. In the moment at a party, an individual may be faced with notions like “well, one drink won’t hurt, right?” or similar sentiments, especially if one’s friends or family members don’t understand the importance of sobriety in one’s life. Stating clearly that one will not be engaging with these substances at all can help to quell these questions before they have a chance to come up at all. 

Keep a Non-Alcoholic Drink in Hand

Keeping one’s hands filled while out in high-risk situations can also help to mitigate some of the stresses of these circumstances. Having a glass of water, soda, or juice in one’s hands at all times can help an individual quell the urge to grab alcoholic beverages while also serving as another tool to help deflect questions or offerings from others. By keeping a non-alcoholic drink in hand, an individual can decrease the chance that they are offered another beverage and thus can avoid stressful confrontational dialogues. 

Taking on Other Responsibilities

Keeping busy with responsibilities or activities is one of the best ways to keep focused and sober, even if one’s friends or family members aren’t. Taking on additional responsibilities can provide an individual with a constant feeling of accomplishment and take up time and energy that may create additional stresses if an individual is left feeling bored or left out of festivities. 

Taking it upon oneself to clean and take out the trash, volunteer to cook, plate, or serve food at a particular function, or helping set up other festivities such as board games, outdoor games, music, or movies can all be ways to fill one’s time while still feeling like a member of the festivities. 

Being a designated driver can also be a very impactful responsibility. Not only can those in recovery understand and appreciate the importance of such a role and the disasters that having a designated driver can help avoid, but this responsibility is also one of the most widely understood. Stating one’s intention to be the designated driver not only can typically eliminate any further questions, but such a respected role can also cause others to offer their help in retrieving non-alcoholic beverages and providing other support. 

Always Have an Escape Plan

Going out with friends and families to any number of different functions will always come with a degree of risk, especially if they haven’t made the same commitment to sobriety. The best course of action for one’s sobriety may be to remove oneself from the situation if stresses are becoming challenging to manage or if one’s friends and family are actively causing additional hurdles. Having an escape plan and contacting supports who understand one’s sober choice to help remove an individual from these situations is not any kind of weakness, but rather a show of strength and agency to employ one’s practiced coping strategies for their own sober goals. 

Having friends or families who don’t understand or embrace a sober lifestyle can introduce several different hurdles and stressors into one’s own sober path. At Everlast Recovery, we understand the need to surround yourself with supportive and understanding sober peers, and we open our doors for you to join our sober community. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol or looking to continue developing your own sober skills in a safe, supportive, and home-like environment, we can help you today. Our personalized approach to recovery allows you to explore all of the different options available to you, including our individual, group, and family therapy programs, 12-Step programs, and medication-assisted therapy, along with many experiential therapies to help you find your own best practices. Our detox and residential facilities are prepared to meet you where you are in your recovery and provide a comfortable environment for you to continue your sober journey. Call us today at (866) 338-6925.

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