Whether you just completed a treatment program or you have a long period of time under your belt working on a sober life, not everyone around you lives the same way. If you have friends who drink, the predicament of how to handle this issue likely presents itself. You wonder how to be sober and still keep your friends.
Examine What Your Friends Focus On
Think about the people you hang out with the most. Do they place an emphasis on time spent together or a shared activity everyone enjoys? If the main goal of a get-together for some friends revolves around drinking alcohol, this can be problematic.
If everyone in a group of friends you normally socialize with makes drinking and getting drunk the highlight of any time spent together, you may have to look for new friends. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a permanent arrangement. With more recovery time under your belt, you may be able to revisit this choice.
If you are fresh in your recovery, you may find that you cannot continue hanging with the party gang without risking your recovery. There are two ways to approach this plan.
You might want to tell one of your friends that you need to abstain from the types of outings you used to enjoy with them. That friend can inform the others in your circle of the choice you’ve made. This will let everyone know that you are working on how to be sober and still keep your friends. If they know that keeping your health has become your priority, they hopefully will understand. If they try to talk you out of it, they likely do not share your priority.
Finding Sober Friends
The prospect of finding a new group of friends may feel daunting. A good place to start looking can be found in recovery groups. Support groups feature rooms full of people with the same goal: maintaining their recovery.
You can also find classes, social groups, and volunteer opportunities that interest you. Having something in common with others provides a great platform on which to build new friendships. Ask around in these groups if anyone would like to do something casual, like grab lunch or check out a movie.
This gives you a low-pressure event to share with new people. It also allows you to begin getting a feel for who you might have things in common with, which can lead to close friendships. You may want to put out the word that you specifically want an alcohol-free time together. This allows those who have different interests to decline the invitation.
Host Your Own Alcohol-Free Events
Another way to learn how to be sober and still keep your friends involves hosting events. When you are the host or hostess, you set the parameters for the event. The combination of summer and a society opening back up makes for plenty of opportunities to socialize. Think about hosting a backyard bbq or a brunch in your home. You might reserve a table at a popular park or other outdoor venues.
Plan an exciting menu and fun activities for everyone to enjoy. When you send out the invitations, you can clarify the terms of the get-together. Depending on the crowd you invite, you may need to be firm with people. If you believe a more casual proclamation will work, try saying something like, “I’m keeping this event alcohol-free. There will be lots of fun activities to keep everyone busy. I hope you will come!”
Keep Firm Boundaries In Place
How to be sober and still keep your friends will likely involve boundaries. Even if you have specified that no alcohol will be served at a gathering in your home, a guest may feel the need to rebel. If someone shows up with their own alcohol, be polite but firm. Remind them that you have made recovery your priority, which is why all guests were told in advance about your social event being alcohol-free. If the guest wants to debate this or claims they will drink but promise not to tempt you, give them an emphatic “no”.
If you are hosting an event at a restaurant or other public place, someone may order an alcoholic drink or bring their own. In this case, you can also remind them that you informed them when you invited them that it’s in your best interest not to be around alcohol at this point. You can state in a serious but friendly tone that you hope getting to spend a couple of hours with you proves worth postponing having a drink.
With some luck, the others will join you in trying to persuade the guest to respect your needs. If you find that everyone else wants to cajole you for permission to drink, do not be embarrassed to remove yourself from the situation. They are showing you that their need for a few hours of drinking supersedes their desire to help you stay healthy and sober. In addition, friends who cannot go a few hours without alcohol may be dealing with their own addiction
Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Texas
If addiction to alcohol has taken over your life, Purpose Driven Recovery can help you choose recovery. We offer gender-specific sober living homes in Houston. Our round-the-clock onsite management helps you problem solve and stay strong in your recovery. We provide access to sober coaching, therapy, and support groups. Call us today at (713) 266-1507 or click here to email us.