Big events, holidays, or happy hour can be triggers for people in sobriety. Intermingled into the ways we socialize in our society can be the overabundance of substances. As people get further into their sobriety these types of events can become second nature. We may not miss a beat. Yet, for others navigating social anxiety or just starting out in sobriety social events can cause a great deal of stress. The best way to tackle social situations is by having your own personalized plan. Each person is different, some may be introverted, some may thrive on the social life which is why you need to find tools that are right for you. Here are some tips for staying sober at big events like Super Bowl Sunday.
Avoid People, Places, and Things
In early recovery it has been said if a person, place or things makes you want to use, avoid it. This might feel like a cop out, or make a person feel weak, but just the opposite is true. Knowing your limits and where you are at in your recovery process is the smartest thing you can do for yourself. It shows strength, forethought and an investment in your long term well- being. If you find yourself in this stage of the game do not despair, there are other ways you can treat yourself and enjoy a special day. Throw your own party. Gather up all of your favorite foods and non-alcoholic beverages and enjoy the game. This will not be the last super bowl, that is a guarantee, but you can bet come Monday morning when many of your office mates are calling in late or feeling terrible, this won’t be you and you will be better for it.
Sit At The Kids Table
I have heard this strategy used more with moms, but it can work for anyone. If you are at a party where there are families and the party is starting to reach its tipping point, make a “b-line” for the kids’ area. It is most likely kids, such buzz killers as they are, will be sequestered to another room of the house. Join them. Play their silly games. Drink their sugary drinks and steel all their pretzels. I even know one mom who decided to take over PJ and story time for the little ones while all the parents continued to party. She had a lovely time and her friends partied on and most likely the kids were very grateful.
Bring Your Own
I don’t know about you but at most parties I attend there is terrible selection if any at all for the nondrinker, aside from water, or if you’re lucky seltzer with lemon. WOW! Bringing your own is a way to take the pressure off the hostess and enjoy what you love, be it non-alcoholic beer, sweet treats or if you are a radical mixologist bring it on! Making delicious and satisfying non-alcoholic drinks even your friends can enjoy will surprise people. There may even be other people at the party who are grateful for this hangover free option.
Have A Backup Plan
If you are an introvert like me, alcohol made loud and booze laden parties tolerable. Sometimes it isn’t cravings that make us become overwhelmed by a person, place or situation. In this case, know your limits and have a backup plan. Drive yourself. Blame it on the kids, work or the lunar eclipse. I have known people to hide in bathrooms and cry just to recover from how overwhelmed they are feeling in the moment. It is all ok. The bottom line is if you need to bolt out the door claiming a bout of Montezuma’s revenge, do it. Just do the next right thing.
What Do I Tell People?
Again, this is a good one to think through before you enter into a “party” situation. This is a very personal decision. Give yourself permission to tell people anything you want. From, “alcohol makes me break out in handcuffs,” to, “I am on penicillin,” you get to decide. The simplest answer to give people when offered your drug of choice is, “No thanks.” Repeated over and over if necessary.
Let Your Support Group Know
Accountability is key. Letting your sponsor or a trusted friend or family member know where you are going, what you might be struggling with and that you might need them to be available by phone or text. Agreeing on this ahead of time will give your support system the heads up to keep an eye on their phone and give you the comfort of knowing someone has your back.
Report in on what you are doing this super bowl Sunday or have done in the past to tackle social situation sober.