Summer is a great time to have parties, stay out until sunrise, and just chill by the pool with your closest friends.
All of those things typically involve alcohol. Some people with mental health issues have a complicated relationship with alcohol. And some people struggle with alcohol addictions.
Alcohol is not fun and games for everyone. And just seeing or smelling alcohol can set off triggers.
Sure, you can stay home but that’s not always realistic. According to several research studies, we need social interaction in order to stay mentally and physically healthy (Umberson & Montez, 2010).
Although I have never had an addiction, I had to stay sober for a long period of time during college. When I drank, my depression would get worse so I would drink more and usually end up having a depressive episode. It wasn’t good. So I made a decision to just not drink at all.
This was hard to do though, especially during my college years.
Below are eight tips on staying sober at a party or get together.
I should mention that not all of these will work for someone with an addiction because like I said, I’ve never had one. These tips are more for those who chose sobriety as part of their lifestyle. However, it might be helpful for those with an addiction too.
Be confident and prepared. Own it!
Be prepared for whatever might happen. Be prepared that you may get triggered or that some people may judge you. Have your sponsor or friend be on stand by just in case you need to call them.
Especially if you’re in college, or early twenties, there might be those people who judge you and try to pressure you. And there will definitely be people that simply don’t understand. Try not to let this get to you. Stay confident with your decision to be sober.
Hang around those who don’t drink, or at least understand.
If you have a sober buddy, hang around him/her.
Or if you know someone who understand, whether they’ve been through it before or knows someone who has, stick with them. They won’t judge you. And they will be able to stand up for you if you can’t, or back you up.
Always have a drink in hand, and always serve yourself.
It used to trigger me a bit when someone would ask me if I wanted a drink. If you have a drink in your hand, it is less likely that someone will offer you a drink. Most of the time, they will think of it as a harmless question, because they don’t know.
And always serve yourself because someone might, intentionally or unintentionally, bring you an alcoholic drink. People can be assholes so don’t let anyone get you a drink, unless you trust that person with your life.
Have sober fun.
“Think about it, they’re not going to care what you do, and chances are they’re not going to remember too much of what you do anyway,” (Appleford, 2016). Dance like crazy on your own or with your friends, sing loudly, confess your love to someone. Also, people watching drunk people can be lots of fun. “Embrace your sobriety and let go of your inhibitions.”
Leave when you need to.
As with most parties or get-togethers, the witching hour may strike and the atmosphere may get a little too uncomfortable for you to bear. Watching a room full of people under the influence may cut a little too close for comfort – like you need any more reminders of your past” (Powers, 2015). If this happens, it is best to leave, especially if you feel triggered. Better safe than sorry.
Bring a friend.
Your friends probably know you better than anyone else, and you can probably count on them to be there for you and make sure you’re okay.
Remember past drinks.
This is a hard one because no one likes to remember the bad stuff right?
My biggest mistake happened when I relapsed from staying sober for 7 months. My best friend and I got in a really bad and harsh fight. We ended up splitting for two months. I hate remembering it, but the truth is, it has saved me from making other mistakes and will continue to.
Be honest with yourself and others.
This means not saying you’re okay when you’re not okay. Don’t test yourself, and if you’re not don’t stay at the party just because your friend wants to stay. Nothing good will come from that.
“Even though it can be a challenge, you can have fun without drinking and actually be the life of the party without the naughty behavior, hangovers and regret the next morning. As with everything else in your sobriety, you need to have a solid plan in place so you can take in the excitement without slipping” (Powers, 2015)
Demi Lovato, who has been sober for 5 years, had a big house party for her music video to Sorry, Not Sorry. I couldn’t help but notice how happy and healthy she looks partying, sober. Of course that’s not the only thing I noticed…she’s crazy hot and the song is amazing! Check it out…
Appleford, C. (2016). How To Go Out And Have Fun Without Drinking. HuffPost. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/chris-appleford-/how-to-go-out-and-have-fun-without-drinking_a_21441120/
Powers, T. (2015). Staying Sober and Having Fun At Social Gatherings – 4 Tips To Keep You On Point. SoberNation. Retrieved from https://sobernation.com/staying-sober-and-having-fun-at-social-gatherings-4-tips-to-keep-you-on-point/
Umberson, D., & Montez, J. K. (2010). Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 51(Suppl), S54–S66. http://doi.org/10.1177/0022146510383501