How To Handle Parties In Early Recovery
The early days of recovery from addiction are never easy, but some of the hardest moments for people abstaining from alcohol are holidays, parties and times of celebration. Alcoholics may feel overwhelmed with understanding how to handle themselves at parties because there are so many triggers surrounding them.
In some cases it may be best to avoid these situations, but if that is not possible then it can be a good way to train themselves on how to deal with the temptation around them in a responsible way. Learning how to handle parties is one of the trickiest but most important skills to have in early recovery. With some preparation and valuable tools it is possible for a person in recovery to attend a party and still enjoy themselves without sacrificing their hard-earned sobriety.
Bring a Sober Friend
The first thing to keep in mind, especially for an addict in the earliest period of recovery, is that many social occasions can be optional if you are worried that they might make you more vulnerable to relapse. If you ever feel that you are not strong enough at a certain moment or are in danger of making a costly mistake then the best option is to avoid a party that could be potentially very triggering. On the other hand there can be many parties that you really want to attend like a close friend's birthday or a family holiday party. With these types of occasions you will need to use a lot of the skills that you learn in recovery and do your best to make it through the event. A good idea is to bring a sober friend with you so that you can support each other and feel less alienated. It can be difficult to be the only sober person at a party while being surrounded by intoxicated people having fun. With a sober friend there you will feel less alone and have the strength of a support system.
Leave Early if Necessary
Along with bringing a sober friend, it is always good idea to have a few other strategies to help you avoid potential relapse. At many parties, the best option is to leave early before people begin drinking more heavily. The beginning of a party can be a bit easier for an addict to handle because people are still relatively sober and easier to talk to. It can be difficult for a recovering addict to be around when people really begin to feel the effects of alcohol and it is more obvious that they are completely sober. Sometimes the smart choice is to arrive early and leave early so that you avoid the possibility of experiencing the more difficult triggers.
Practice Saying No
Another important skill to have at a party is to be confident and comfortable enough to say no to people offering you alcohol. It can be hard for former addicts to turn down some of their favorite drinks of the past. T can also feel embarrassing in a social situation to be one of the few who are not drinking. People in recovery, however, need to practice saying no so that they do not hesitate or think twice when someone is trying to hand them a beer. When people are offering alcohol and you must say no to them it helps to be prepared with an explanation as to why you are not drinking. It is up to you whether you want to be completely open about your recovery or if you would rather have a simpler explanation that does not require you to divulge a lot of personal information. It will take time but eventually any addict can begin to feel comfortable and no longer think twice about being sober at a party.