Photo Credit: stux,Pixabay
Maintaining sobriety is a daily endeavor for recovering addicts, and it can be difficult during any time of the year. However, the holidays and the summer tend to present the most temptations. Summer social events include weddings, cookouts, family gatherings, Memorial Day and Fourth of July parties, vacations, and more. These events can be fun, but they can also make recovering addicts feel anxious and present the possibility of a relapse. That doesn’t mean recovering addicts can’t attend summer social events; it just means they need a plan in place before attending.
The Right Attitude
The first step in planning to attend an event is to think positively about the event. There’s a saying that thinking something is true often makes it true. Along that train of thought, if you think the event will be boring or that you won’t have a good time, then you probably won’t. If you think it’s going to be a fun and enjoyable time without the need for a drink, then it probably will be.
When you’re sober, it’s easier to see how social events can be fun without needing alcohol or drugs. You’ll see that the reason why social events are enjoyable isn’t because of the alcohol or drugs; rather,it’s the people you’re spending time with at the event that make it fun. You can also find enjoyment in the weather, the food, the music, and the atmosphere.
Before you attend an event, go ahead and tell yourself you’re not going to drink – not even one drink or one sip of a drink. Take a nonalcoholic drink you enjoy with you. If you have a favorite blackberry soda, bring some with you to your neighbor’s BBQ. Having something you genuinely enjoy drinking can help you avoid the temptation of ordering an alcoholic beverage.
Prepare Your Body and Mind
Likewise, don’t go to an event on an empty stomach. Hunger and thirst can make you feel tired and irritable, which can exacerbate cravings and lower your ability to avoid temptations. Another way to avoid being tired or irritable is to do something relaxing before the event. Yoga, meditation, and massages are perfect for relaxing. Exercise is another way to unwind before an event. Spending time with animals is also shown to ease stress, so walking your dog is great stress relief. If you don’t have a dog, there are other ways to ensure you get the benefits of spending time with animals. For example, you could become a dog walker or volunteer at a local animal shelter. You never know you might find a reason to adopt one.
You can also attend a meeting before the event to help remind you of your recovery plan. When you leave the event, stop by a meeting as well. At the very least, call your sponsor to talk about how you feel after attending a social event sans alcohol or drugs. If you’re going out of town for the event, know when and where nearby meetings will take place.
Attending the event with a friend is a good idea, but make sure they also remain sober, and be sure that you’re able to leave the event when you want or need to do so. Drive your own car if possible and keep your keys in your pocket. If you ride with someone, let him or her know you may need to leave without notice. Have a cue to leave and head out if you feel any temptation to drink or do drugs.
Lastly, remember that you don’t have to go at all. If you feel overly anxious or you’re having a tough day, don’t feel bad about not attending. You must put your sobriety and your health first. Make it up to your friends later by going to a different event that makes you feel more comfortable and has fewer temptations.