Who said being sober isn’t fun? Just because you are in recovery does not mean you can’t be social. Sure, you may want to avoid certain functions, such as nightclubs and bars for the regular hangout. But, what about big events like the Super Bowl? Do you have to give up the enjoyment of events just because you gave up alcohol?
Placing yourself in a social situation can be a very big risk – especially one that coincides with alcohol and celebrations. But it is most definitely possible for you to still enjoy social events and have fun while remaining sober.
These 9 tips and tricks will have your navigating big events – sober – in no time.
1.) Stay Close to Those Who Know You
You can be prepared with so many coping skills and trigger savvy knowledge, but the moment you walk into a big event, you may find that you get overwhelmed and a bit woozy. That doesn’t mean it is okay to get boozy, though.
Stick to those who know you – and know your history. Not only will they provide a means of comfort, but they will also be a buffer between you and everyone else around you who are buying rounds of drinks. You may find that this aggravation from strangers around you may increase as the event goes on.
2.) Keep Recovery Reminders Within Reach
Sometimes you just need a reminder. You know you want to remain sober. And, you know that you are not going to give in at this moment, but you also know that you are hanging on with everything that you’ve got – and you need something to remind you to keep holding tight.
You can physically carry something in your pocket or purse that you can hold in your hand or look at to serve as a sober reminder. Or, you can keep something on your phone, such as pictures reminding you of your worse days or pictures of your loved ones. Keeping easily accessible positive and empowering quotes can work, too.
3.) Indulge in Mocktails
While this tip is to help you, it is more about everyone else than you. When those around you are drinking and ordering drinks, if they don’t see you with one in your hand, they are very likely to ask you about having a drink or worse – buy one and hand it to you. If you walk around with a drink in your hands, they’ll think you are good to go and will move on to pester someone else.
No one needs to even know what is in your cup.
If you do follow this tip, make sure you always keep your non-alcoholic drink in your hand. Someone could mistakenly move the drinks or think they are being funny by putting a shot of something in your cup. Avoid both of these situations by just holding onto your drink.
4.) Have an Answer to the Infamous Question: “Why Aren’t You Drinking?”
Be prepared. If you are holding a drink, someone is bound to ask you what you are drinking. And if you are empty-handed, they’ll want to know why. And, as soon as you say that you are sober or that you don’t feel like drinking, they are going to want to know why.
You can be prepared with the truth and fully self-disclose. Or, be prepared with a lie and have fun with it. Whatever works for you and keeps you on the sober path is what you need to use.
5.) Be the Role Model
Believe it or not, you are actually a role model when you show up – and remain – sober at a big event. Everyone around you is dealing with something and most people are scared to take big steps. As the sober one, you are doing something that all the people around you aren’t doing.
Be the role model – and the trendsetter. Show everyone that you can still have a great time without the booze. Own your sobriety.
6.) Take in the Experience, Not the Drink
If you are at a big event and you are drinking, tomorrow you will likely have great memories of the first part of the event, but then the memories grow a bit cloudy. If you are sober, however, you can enjoy the entire experience.
Here’s a bit of perspective for you: Why spend so much money to enjoy a concert or sporting event – and then drink until you miss it? As someone who is sober, you now get to enjoy the experience.
7.) Bring a Sober Buddy Along
Sometimes it is just easier when you have someone on your side. If you are heading to an event at which you don’t know someone, it may help you to bring a sober buddy with you. This is someone who can help you remain accountable – and that can be very helpful in a social setting.
8.) Have an Exit Plan
Triggers can be around every corner. You always need to be prepared for them – especially when you are at a social event where alcohol is very prevalent. Before you go, plan to have a means of exiting the event early if you need to. Whether that means making up a story or simply sneaking out the back door – do what you must to keep yourself sober.
9.) Follow the One-Minute Rule
Lastly, no matter what you encounter at your big event, know that you just have to get through one minute at a time. Take deep breaths and focus on yourself and your breathing. You can get through anything for one minute. So, if you must, get through your event minute-by-minute.
Being sober doesn’t mean you have to stop engaging in fun activities. Not everyone is going to understand why you don’t drink, but that is okay. Just follow these tips and remain aware of your surroundings – you are sure to have a good, fun time. Remember that you are there to fully and uninhibitedly enjoy your experience at the event.