Social functions are times to relax, enjoy friends and family and have fun. If you’re someone in addiction recovery, staying sober during these occasions may feel like a cloud hanging over the experience. There are ways to have sober fun at social functions, and this article outlines a few tips and tricks to have a good time without endangering your sobriety.
Plan for Sober Fun
Make a plan that will reinforce your resolve to attend the party sober. Decide how you’ll get to the party, how you’ll answer any questions about not drinking and how you plan to get home. Have an exit plan strategy for how you’ll get home if you decide you want to leave the party early. By having a plan for your sober fun in place before you go, it will help you deal with any questions and enable you to exit early if the temptation to lapse becomes too strong.
Be Prepared to Answer Questions
When you’re at a party and aren’t drinking alcohol, the inevitable question will arise, “Why aren’t you drinking?” Rather than wait for the question to be posed and then scrambling for an answer, be prepared to answer confidently.
If you want to keep your recovery journey to yourself, then the key is to keep your answer short and to the point to avoid having to divulge details about your private life. Two good answers would be:
“I am going with a (non-alcoholic drink of choice) tonight. I have a busy day tomorrow.” “I am not in the mood to drink tonight. Thanks.”
Don’t be offended if people question your non-alcohol choice. Research shows people tend to classify things in order to make sense of the world.1
We come up with behaviors and rules for interaction. When someone who drinks sees another who isn’t, it upsets the “rules.” Take the questions in stride. Don’t let them throw you off your game or interfere with your plan to have fun while staying sober.
Keep Busy: Work the Party
Keep busy by finding a job at the party. Finding lots to do relieves any boredom and removes the temptation to fill your hand with a drink because you’re just standing around. Your host will be grateful for your help as well. A few good jobs would be:
- Become the DJ and keep the music going
- Prepare or serve food
- Be the clean-up crew and remove the empty cups and dishes
- Organize and supervise party games (without alcohol as a focus, of course)
- Be the photographer for the event
Give Yourself a Pat on the Back for a Job Well Done
Be confident and congratulate yourself that you planned well and stayed sober. The first party may seem alien without alcohol, but as you stay sober and reap all the benefits of your newly found healthier life, it gets easier. You’ve proven living sober isn’t miserable and boring.2
Think about how you don’t have to worry about losing control, you can drive home sober and not worry about a DUI and how you can recall everything that went on at the party and you’ll feel good about yourself. Stay positive and don’t dwell on what other people are doing. You are making decisions based on your own unique circumstances. Be proud of your sober fun choices; they keep you safe and healthy.