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Navigating Social Life in Early Recovery

The early days and weeks of your recovery from addiction can feel like a tight rope walk — one false step, and you’ll fall hard. So, how can you enjoy a full and active social life when sobriety is all you can think about?

The trick to navigating early recovery from addiction is to figure out what brings joy into your life and do it — you just have to stay sober. Do you want to go whitewater rafting? Go! Do you want to see your favorite rock band? Head to a concert. Just take the necessary precautions to ensure your sobriety — recovery doesn’t mean you can’t have fun anymore.

3 Early Sobriety Tips for Socializing Without Alcohol

You’re allowed to have friends and a healthy social life when you’re in recovery. While you may feel it’s challenging to stay sober at social events early on, it’s important to have relationships with others. Loneliness is a trigger that can lead to cravings.

As you prepare to socialize without alcohol, just be aware of the risks and equip yourself with these three early sobriety tips.

1. Find Support From Like-Minded Friendships

Now that you’ve broken free from addiction, the people you once partied with can no longer be a part of your life. Instead, do some sober social networking and stay around people and friends who are supportive of your recovery and won’t pressure you.

Chances are, early on in your recovery, you won’t feel completely comfortable being sober while at parties. When social situations come up, ask a friend who is also sober to come along. Their presence will ensure you don’t feel like the lone non-drinker and help you have more fun.

2. Prepare for Being Sober Around Drinkers

As you prepare to learn how to party sober, you should expect different experiences. Your incredible recovery journey has changed you, and your social life is going to look different as well. If you know you’re going to be around people drinking, you may be afraid of falling into old habits. Keep the following things in mind, and you will get through these events unscathed:

  • Always hold a non-alcoholic drink, so you’re less likely to get offered alcohol
  • If people ask why you’re not drinking, how much you share or don’t share is entirely up to you
  • Be prepared to leave if things become overwhelming or uncomfortable
  • If it’s too much pressure, skip any social event you don’t feel comfortable attending

3. Have Fun Without Alcohol

Opting out of events with alcohol doesn’t mean you have to sit at home alone and lonely. You just have to learn how to have fun without alcohol. Staying busy and active will help you feel more fulfilled and promote new connections with others who have a zest for life. Here are just a few ways to have a blast without drinking:

  • Pick up old hobbies you gave up when you struggled with addiction
  • Go to or host a sober event where drinking isn’t the focus
  • Go to the park, the movies or a nice dinner out
  • Make plans to meet a friend for coffee or lunch
  • Give new hobbies or activities a try — from rock climbing to knitting, the sky’s the limit

Recovery After Relapse

Some people first entering recovery find socializing to be too much. You fall into old thought patterns and habits, and before you know, you’re using drugs or drinking again. That is not the end of your story.

If you have experienced relapse, Gateway is here to help. Our programs provide evidence-based treatment customized to your exact needs to ensure a successful next step. Contact us to find out more today.

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