After you go through an addiction recovery program, socializing can be difficult. For many former addicts, seeing old friends brings about memories of drug and alcohol abuse or cravings to partake in those activities again, making socializing a source of anxiety. To help ease your worries, here are some ways to lead a healthy, fulfilling, and sober social life.
Find Supportive Friends
During your addiction recovery, surround yourself with a group of supportive and understanding friends. Distance yourself from people who question your decision to become sober and pressure you to drink or take drugs. If you struggle to distance yourself from negative friendships, try forming new friendships in places where drugs and alcohol are not present, such as churches, youth groups, or volunteer organizations. The further you remove yourself from negative friendships, the less inclined you are to relapse into negative habits.
Plan Sober Social Activities
After surrounding yourself with a supportive group of friends, plan social activities that do not involve drugs or alcohol. For young people, this can be a challenge because many social activities for teens and young adults focus on drinking or partying. Although distancing yourself from the party-scene is difficult, remind yourself that socializing is about spending quality time with friends, not drugs and alcohol. Instead of drinking at a bar, go out to dinner or grab a cup of coffee. Instead of going to a party where drugs and alcohol are present, go to the movies or the bowling alley. To remove the temptation of partying, plan activities that excite you. If you are outdoorsy, take your friends on a hike or a fishing trip. If you are interested in cooking, have your friends over to make a meal. When you distance yourself from the party scene, you increase your chances of a successful addiction recovery.
Despite your efforts, you may sometimes run into situations where alcohol is present. For example, you may attend a party at close friend’s house where people are drinking or a concert that sells alcohol. In these situations, judge if it is safe for you to stay. Sometimes, you may feel tempted or uncomfortable and you’ll have to leave, which is perfectly okay. Other times, you may decide to stay and socialize sober. When you do decide to stay, many former addicts recommend drinking “EANABs” or “Equally Attractive Non-Alcoholic Beverages.” When other people are sipping on alcohol drinks, grab an iced tea, a soda, or a sparkling water. Overall, remember to stay in control and avoid negative situations where people will tempt you to drink.