While millions of people struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol, a recent survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that up to 90% of those who need addiction treatment don't actually receive it. But those who do receive the help they need at alcohol or drug addiction treatment centers may find that remaining sober isn't always as easy as they had hoped -- especially when you're with friends or relatives who still drink.
In our society, social gatherings often revolve around the consumption of alcohol or drugs. If you have successfully completed treatment at a drug or alcohol rehab center, you may be totally committed to living a sober life. However, that won't always be the case for everyone else around you. While it's best to remove yourself from situations in which alcohol or drugs are present while you are in early recovery, the reality is that this may not always be possible. If you feel strong enough to say no when you're around alcohol or drugs, you can still attend social gatherings to interact with friends and relatives. However, you'll need a plan going into these situations.
Here are a few tips you'll want to follow to ensure you don't put your sobriety in jeopardy when attending these events.
Ask questions beforehand
Before you accept an invitation or get ready to leave for an occasion, you should do your homework. Find out from the host whether there will be non-alcoholic drinks available, who will be in attendance, and whether or not there will be others there who will be sober. The answers to these questions can help you decide whether you want to actually go. You may want to reconsider your plans if you feel anyone on the guest list could cause you to risk your sobriety. But if you discover that there will be several guests who don't drink and that there will be plenty of non-alcoholic options, you'll be more likely to resist temptation and enjoy an evening with others while sober.
Bring along reinforcements
Regardless of the guest list and the non-alcoholic refreshments, it can't hurt to bring along some support. Ask a sober friend to come along with you to keep you accountable and to help you stay strong. If you can't bring a friend along, you can arrange to call them beforehand or during the party if you're feeling vulnerable. You can also bring along some soda, fruit juice, or sparkling water to ensure you'll always have something to distract you from drinking. This can also keep others from trying to tempt you with a drink, since you'll already be all set. Finally, don't forget to call on what you've learned at addiction treatment centers; these can help restore your strength and faith during a time of need.
Have an exit plan
Those who have never gone to addiction treatment centers or struggled with substance abuse themselves may have a hard time understanding the depth of your problems or your reasoning for making such a big change in your life. They may already know you've spent time at a drug or alcohol rehab center or they may be oblivious as to why you aren't drinking. Either way, they could pepper you with questions or do their best to get you to join them in having "just one." Even if everyone in attendance is perfectly understanding, being around a group of people enjoying their alcohol may be extremely difficult for you.
That's why it's important to have an exit plan that you can quickly put into place if you become uncomfortable or feel overwhelmed with a desire to drink or use drugs. Keep money and/or your keys in your pocket at all times and be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Say your goodbyes quickly and leave without trying to test your resolve.
Although you may have spent time at addiction treatment centers and committed yourself to sobriety, you're not necessarily immune from temptation. But by following these tips, you may still be able to enjoy being around friends and family without sacrificing your sobriety.