So you’ve chosen to get professional help for alcohol addiction and trying to figure out how to navigate life while in recovery. Good for you! If you have dealt with addiction, you understand how important it is to not only get sober but stay that way. It’s a lot to wrap your head around! You’re probably feeling a mixture of fear, excitement, freedom, and doubt.
The good news is that living a sober life is 100% possible. Of course, it takes commitment and lots of adjusting, but if you have already done the work in alcohol rehab, you have what it takes to live a sober life. Or, if you’re thinking about getting alcohol treatment in San Diego and are curious about how life might look while in recovery, it’s crucial to understand that life can be wonderfully fulfilling without alcohol.
Many who’ve dealt with alcohol addiction worry about how they’ll be able to maintain a social life without alcohol. There’s a good chance your pre-sober life revolved around it, or if you have yet to get help, drinking alcohol is probably something you do daily.
There is hope. A social life without alcohol is possible. In this article, we’ll give you some tips for successfully staying sober while maintaining a social life.
How to Maintain a Sober Social Life While in Recovery
When you are first starting your alcohol recovery journey, you’re probably already aware that it’s best to steer clear of people and places that could fuel your risk of relapse. But if you’re a social person, there’s a good chance you’re going to be around others drinking alcohol sometime in the future. So how do you maintain a sober life then?
Here are some helpful tips for maintaining a social life while in alcohol addiction recovery:
Be open and honest about your desire to stay sober.
It can be challenging to inform your close friends and family that you’ve given up drinking. But being open and honest about it and setting clear boundaries is only going to help you live the sober life you so desire. Unfortunately, you may lose some friends, which is hurtful, but if there are people in your life who can’t support you in your sobriety journey, it’s better for you in the end.
Start by telling those friends and family members you feel will be most supportive of your sobriety efforts. These are likely friends who aren’t solely drinking buddies. Then, if others with whom you frequented bars reach out and are unsupportive, you’ll already know you have trusted friends to lean on for support.
Prepare yourself for negative reactions.
As you step out into your new sober social life, you need to prepare yourself for negative reactions to your sobriety efforts. If others react negatively by passing judgment, making assumptions, or voicing their opinions on not drinking alcohol, do your best not to take it personally.
Adverse reactions have nothing to do with you and your recovery journey. Rather than taking these reactions personally, consider using them to bolster your confidence in your sobriety efforts.
Shift your social circle.
Having a social life without alcohol doesn’t necessarily mean you must replace all of your old friends with new ones. But, as pointed out in tip number one, it’s a good idea to distance yourself from “friends” who aren’t going to support you.
Your new sober life can include supportive old friends, but it’s also a good idea to develop new friends, friends who don’t drink alcohol. When you surround yourself with like-minded people, you can normalize living life without alcohol. Consider attending alcohol-free events, finding fellow sober-life individuals on social media, or connecting with individuals you meet in alcohol rehab.
Set healthy boundaries and understand your triggers.
While you might not want to attend a lot of social gatherings and parties where alcohol is served early on in your recovery journey, eventually, it’s going to happen. You don’t have to become a hermit when recovering from alcohol addiction, afterall.
When you feel ready to attend gatherings, you should set healthy boundaries on which to attend and understand your triggers before you go. Determine for yourself what level of alcohol consumption from others you are comfortable with. If you know there is an event coming up where the primary goal of attending is to get drunk, that’s not a good idea for you. However, think about what you are comfortable being around.
For example, are you okay going to a low-key dinner party where wine will be present? How do you feel about attending wedding receptions where alcohol is available? Once you set your boundaries, you’ll be more prepared to stick to them.
Another aspect of setting healthy boundaries while in recovery is understanding your triggers. If you are going to an event with people who are unsupportive of your sobriety or where you may be triggered emotionally, tempting you to drink, be proactive in knowing if you should go and who you should avoid.
Find hobbies and social activities that don’t involve alcohol.
There are plenty of social activities that revolve around drinking. But there are also lots of things you can do that have nothing to do with alcohol. Consider taking up hiking, volunteering, taking an art class, going to the movies, taking a dance class, or finally delving into an entrepreneurial venture you’ve been considering. The possibilities are endless!
Find a fun, non-alcoholic drink you can sip on.
In the past few years, there has been a more significant emphasis on how people can, in fact, have a great social life without alcohol. This “sober-curious” movement has sparked an onslaught of “mocktail” recipes and even pre-packaged non-alcoholic beverages you can bring to the next gathering.
When you have a delicious mocktail in your hand, you can feel less anxious about your sobriety efforts and pressured to drink alcohol. And, as a bonus, you can stay hydrated!
Stay connected to your alcohol treatment therapist or support network.
Living a new, sober life isn’t always going to be easy. You must have a support network you can rely on when you feel triggered, tempted, and like you’re losing your footing on your sober journey.
Much like having a sponsor, make sure you have supportive friends and family as favorite contacts on your phone. That way, when you are at a party or event and feel tempted to drink, you can call someone and chat about it. It can be surprising how quickly your desire to drink can pass when you have the support of a friend or family member.
It’s also a great idea to stay connected to your alcohol addiction treatment therapist or support group. At BOLD Health, we offer after-treatment support groups for individuals who have undergone alcohol treatment in San Diego with us. These can be a genuine lifeline when you feel like you need someone to help you navigate your social life without alcohol.
Are You Looking for Alcohol Treatment in San Diego to Begin Living a Sober Life?
At BOLD Health, we are committed to providing you with the best, evidence-based, holistic alcohol treatment customized to meet your needs. When you enroll in our alcohol rehab in San Diego, you’ll immediately gain a compassionate, understanding, and experienced support network to help you on your sobriety journey.
We take the time to get to know all about you and what makes you who you are so we can tailor your alcohol treatment in San Diego specifically to you. Your treatment may include any of the following:
- alcohol detox
- individual therapy
- group therapy
- family therapy
- medication management
- intensive outpatient program (IOP in San Diego)
Living a sober life while maintaining a healthy and fulfilling social life is very possible. Contact us to learn more about our alcohol rehab in San Diego and how we can best support you in living a life of sobriety.