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Attending social engagements while in addiction recovery can be a challenging and potentially risky situation. Parties often involve the availability of substances that may be tempting for individuals in recovery. From having an escape plan to using a support network, this article will share how to make a safety plan to protect your sobriety while remaining social.

Challenges of Socializing In Early Sobriety

Consider this: You have just completed treatment for substance abuse and are transitioning back into daily life. Your friend invites you to an upcoming party. On the one hand, you would love the opportunity to reconnect with some of the peers you lost touch with during treatment, either out of necessity or as a byproduct of focusing on your own wellness. On the other hand, however, you are nervous about being exposed to these peers because you know they regularly use substances. Likewise, it’s likely those substances will be present at this party.

This is just one challenge that comes with the shift back into social circles once you are sober. In fact, it’s a big challenge. Some other challenges of navigating social events while sober can include:

  • Fitting in with a drinking crowd and feeling left out
  • Feeling uncomfortable in social situations without the use of alcohol as a social lubricant
  • Overcoming anxiety or shyness
  • Dealing with peer pressure to drink
  • Staying entertained and engaged in conversations
  • Dealing with feelings of boredom or awkwardness in social situations
  • Maintaining personal boundaries and resisting temptation.

Making a Safety Plan to Stay Sober

Sobriety in social settings requires some planning. That’s why having a sobriety safety plan can help. A sobriety safety plan is a personalized strategy you create to help you maintain your sobriety and avoid relapse in high-risk situations. It outlines specific actions and coping mechanisms to take in response to triggers, such as stress, boredom, or peer pressure to drink.

Your safety plan can include activities or rituals to promote self-care, strategies for avoiding tempting situations, and a list of supportive friends and resources to turn to when in need. Its goal is to provide a roadmap for staying on track with sobriety goals and to increase the likelihood of success in overcoming addiction.

Tips to Incorporate Into Your Sobriety Plan

Here are some tips for navigating social events while sober that can also be incorporated into your safety plan:

Use the Buddy System

Find a supportive friend or a sober companion to attend events with. Talk to them beforehand about what you’d like to get out of going to the party as well as what you’d like to avoid. Having someone present to support you helps you stay accountable for your goals.

Plan for Peer Pressure

Many people don’t understand the purpose or importance of sobriety. This can result in accidental and even repeated encouragement that you have a drink or participate in other substance use.

Some individuals will be purposefully pushy for reasons of their own. Handling peer pressure can be as simple as saying, “My sobriety is important to me, ” or leaving the event. It might also involve cutting individuals out of your life if they can’t respect your “no.” Having a plan for how to do so before you are faced with unwanted opportunities is the key to preventing engaging in substance use.

Make Connections Your Priority

Focus on having meaningful conversations and making connections with others. This will feel different than it did when the point of social activity was engaging in substance use. Stay open and curious about the people you are interacting with. See what you can learn about them, and make that the point of being out.

Find New Joy

Engage in activities that interest you. Practice mindfulness and self-care. Surround yourself with positive and understanding people. All of these will help you remember your reasons for being sober and staying focused on your goals.

Bring Your Own Beverage

Bring non-alcoholic beverages or snacks to share. This is a great way to locate the other sober party-goers. It is also a great way to make sure you already have something in hand. If anyone offers you a drink or other substance, you can show them what you’re holding and say, “I’m good.” That’s often enough to end the solicitation.

Other Support for Keeping Sober

Sometimes, more help is needed. Consider seeking support from a recovery program or therapist if needed. West Coast Recovery Centers is a leading substance abuse treatment center that offers a variety of evidence-based therapies, including:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Mindfulness-based therapy
  • Holistic approaches, such as yoga and acupuncture

These therapies help individuals in recovery to develop coping skills, build resilience, and find new ways to lead fulfilling lives without relying on drugs or alcohol. Our goal is to help individuals achieve and maintain long-term sobriety through a comprehensive and personalized treatment program.

Attending social engagements while in addiction recovery can be a challenging and potentially risky situation. Parties often involve the easy availability of substances that may be tempting. Giving in to temptation can be avoided with some thoughtful planning. Having a safety plan for remaining sober can involve bringing a friend as support, planning to engage the party in a new or different way, or bringing your own beverages and snacks. Sometimes, help beyond what friends and family can provide is needed to protect your recovery. For more information on a variety of therapy options and treatment, contact West Coast Recovery Centers by calling us at (760) 492-6509 today.

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