Are you worried about how your social life might be impacted by sobriety? If so, you’re not alone. In fact social pressure is one of the biggest barriers preventing people from giving up alcohol. The good news is, with the right tools in place and a willingness to move outside of your comfort zone, this challenge can easily be overcome. Socializing sober is a skill that takes practice, but it’s so worth the payoff to feel your best and have relationships that run deeper than drinks.
Here are a few tips if you need to attend a social situation where alcohol is present:
- Prepare to answer why you’re not drinking
As hard as we may try to dodge the question, “why aren’t you drinking?” if alcohol is present, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked. The best thing to do if this makes you feel anxious is to prepare and rehearse your response so that you can deliver it with confidence. It may feel difficult at the start, but remember, turning down a substance which is literally poison to your body, mind and spirit is something to be proud of, not ashamed. It does get easier with time and practice.
- B.Y.O. non-alcoholic beverage
If you know you’re going to be attending an event where alcohol is present, come prepared with your own non-alcoholic beverage. It’s helpful to have a drink in hand to avoid prompting the question, “can I get you something to drink?” Not to mention, it adds an extra layer of enjoyment to sip on something delicious!
- Choose an accountability buddy
If possible, have someone with you who knows that you’re committed to staying sober and will be there to offer support and prevent you from feeling isolated by your decision. If this isn’t an option, discuss your plans with one of your sober friends beforehand and ask them to check-in in case you need extra support or a simple reminder that you’re not alone.
- Make an exit strategy
Let’s be honest, nobody wants to be the sober one surrounded by drunk people at the end of the night. Set expectations early on with the host and people you’re with that you are not planning to stay late, and give yourself permission to leave at any point you start to feel uncomfortable. No amount of added social time is worth compromising your mental health or putting your sobriety at risk.
- Remember your “Why”
Social pressure is one of the leading causes for slip-ups and relapse, so if you’re in a situation where alcohol is present, there is definitely an added risk to be aware of. Remember why you’ve made this decision for yourself. Write it down. Keep it in your back pocket. Make it the screensaver of your phone. Remember that there is not one single benefit of drinking that is worth your suffering.