If you’re in early recovery, staying away from places where drinking is the main focus is best. Instead, try to find events or activities that don’t involve alcohol. A night out doesn’t have to mean waking up with a hangover. Here are some tips for enjoying a night out and staying sober:
- Plan Ahead
It’s important to plan for these situations, especially if you’re newer in recovery and this changes your normal social routine. If your friends usually drink, it may be helpful to ask them in advance if they mind if you don’t join them. It will help set the tone and prevent you from feeling pressured or making a quick decision that could ruin your sobriety. Another tip is to choose places where there are things to do other than drink.
If you know there will be live music or a dance floor; you might feel less pressure to drink because it’s harder to do just that in those settings. It’s also a good idea to go with someone sober. That way, you can support each other. You can also plan to leave together if the situation gets too intense. You can even encourage your friends to try activities that don’t involve alcohol.
They’ll likely enjoy those activities more than hanging out at bars or clubs. You can invite them to visit a museum, hike, or join a class together. These activities are great ways to get to know people and create new memories. Going out to supper at Fog Harbor may be an extraordinary way to allow yourself a break while appreciating a great dinner. Going out allows socializing and unwinding over delightful nourishment without the work of cooking or the feared post-dinner cleanup.
- Contact a Sober Buddy
Before going out on a night with friends, have a plan to deal with urges to drink. It could involve contacting a support group, calling your sponsor, or a sober buddy who can help you stay strong and safe.
It could also include preparing for the night ahead, such as making sure your car has plenty of gas, filling it up with non-alcoholic drinks, or arranging for a taxi ride home if you feel tired or bored. Many people also find it helpful to discover new activities they can enjoy without drinking or using drugs. It can be a good way to spend an evening and a great way to meet new people in your community.
It could include playing a board game, baking a cake, writing a story, etc. Whether you are attending a wedding, a birthday party, or a funeral, it is important to know your limits and stick with them. Having just one drink at a wedding, or just one hit of heroin at a funeral, can quickly snowball out of control. If you feel like you are getting into trouble, then it’s ok to decline an invitation politely.
- Know When to Leave
In recovery, it’s important to recognize when the environment is no longer safe or healthy for you. Staying sober can be difficult in social situations where alcohol is prevalent, but if your environment becomes unsafe or you’re feeling triggered to drink, it’s ok to leave. Getting away from the bar scene may feel like you’re missing out on some of the fun. But it doesn’t have to be a sacrifice.
You can plan a night out that gives you an excuse not to drink, such as having dinner with friends or seeing a film. You can also go to a museum or an alcohol-free event. If you go out to a place where there is drinking, consider bringing your vehicle so you can leave whenever you want. This way, you won’t have to wait for anyone else or risk being in an unsafe situation.
If you don’t have your car, have a ride home lined up in advance whether it be a taxi service or someone picking you up. Ultimately, staying sober will allow you to enjoy more nights out with your friends. And if your friends are understanding, they may even be excited that you can join them without drinking! Remember that sober times can be as fun as drunk ones – the memories will last a lifetime.
- Take Your Non-Alcohol Beverages
Drinking during recovery can be intimidating, especially when attending social gatherings. While avoiding every party or other social event is not reasonable, it is important to find a way to navigate these situations without feeling the urge to drink. One easy way to do this is by taking your non-alcoholic beverages.
It can help you stay hydrated and keep you from having to decide to order drinks containing alcohol. You can also choose to have one glass of water after each alcoholic beverage to slow down the alcohol rate absorption and minimize your blood alcohol content (BAC).
Another way to keep yourself from craving more is by focusing on other things to do that do not involve alcohol. For example, you could try new activities that your friends are interested in or even explore a different part of the city.
If you feel uncomfortable or lonely, contact your sober connections for support or consider going home early. It’s also a good idea to bring your snacks and pack plenty of water. It will help you avoid the temptation of ordering an expensive meal while at the bar. It will allow you to spend more time with your friends before you need to leave.