How to Remain Sober When You Can’t Avoid Exposure to Alcohol

How to Remain Sober When You Can’t Avoid Exposure to Alcohol

The support of friends and family members through alcohol-free gatherings and sobriety partners can help you stay clean

Recovery from alcohol addiction is a life-long journey, as it takes a commitment to each day of sober living. However, when a recovering alcoholic encounters alcohol, then staying true to that commitment can be challenging. An important part of the recovery process is learning to remain sober when you cannot avoid alcohol. The support of friends and family members through alcohol-free gatherings and sobriety partners can help you stay clean, but, when you or a loved one is forced into a situation where alcohol is present, then have a game plan in place to avoid drinking.

Sober Family Gatherings

To keep family gatherings free of alcohol, share your recovery journey with your loved ones. This task can seem scary at first, especially if your addiction caused hard feelings within your family. However, sharing your struggles and victories with the ones you love can have a liberating effect. Knowing that you do not have to drink to be accepted gives you the necessary strength to choose recovery. Once your family knows that you are sober and working hard to stay that way, it will be easier for them to agree to alcohol-free family gatherings. Enlist the help of one or two of your closest relatives to spread the word and make appropriate plans.

If your family members undermine your sobriety by drinking at gatherings, then you may need to ask yourself the following important questions:

  • Did any of the family members at this particular gathering contribute to your addiction?
  • Do these family members support your efforts to stay sober and are they willing to help?
  • Is attending this particular family gathering worth risking your sobriety?
  • Can you attend or plan an alternative function that is alcohol free?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then it may be best to forgo a particular family event in favor of your recovery.

Gatherings with Friends

Have people around you who support your sobriety. Recovery often requires a change in relationships, so evaluate your friendships that were based on drinking to stay clean. Once you determine which relationships support your sobriety and which ones undermine it, you may still face times when alcohol is an issue, especially at friendly gatherings. Prepare an arsenal of coping strategies before attending these events to strengthen your resolve to stay sober. The following suggestions can help you avoid relapse in situations that involve alcohol:

  • Avoid the bar area (or coolers full of beer) at all times. Enlist the help of a friend to bring you something to drink.
  • Keep a non-alcoholic beverage in your hands at all times. Avoid putting the drink down since it could easily get mixed up with someone else’s beverage.
  • Spend time with other people who are not drinking
  • Take someone to the party who supports your sobriety and who will also not drink
  • Participate in party activities like volleyball, dancing, soccer, horseshoes and etc. instead of sitting around talking
  • Talk about your sobriety at gatherings with friends. Be proud rather than ashamed of the steps you are taking to live without alcohol.

You can avoid relapse at any social gathering if you plan to do so.

Work-Related Gatherings

Work-related gatherings pose unique challenges when it comes to staying sober. Work functions often involve lengthy cocktail hours prior to large dinners, and after parties often revolve around drinking. Prepare sober strategies for these functions to stay clean. Consider the following suggestions to maintain your sobriety when attending work-related parties:

  • Take a sober friend with you. Do not show up to this type of function without an accountability partner, like your spouse, a close friend who supports your sobriety or someone from your support group. Having someone keep you accountable is crucial.
  • Stay away from the bar area. This act can be challenging when so many people gravitate to the bar while conversing at work-related parties. Find a seat as soon as you arrive and stay near it until dinner begins.
  • Keep a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand at all times. At most office parties, the bar provides both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, so have your friend get your drink for you.
  • Go home immediately after dessert is served. Typically, office parties tend to kick drinking up a notch when dinner is over and dancing begins. Ergo, a great time to say your goodbyes and head home is after you eat. If you feel overwhelmed, then find an support group meeting close by.

Seek help to maintain sobriety in situations where alcohol is present.

Find Help for Alcohol Addiction

Avoiding alcohol while recovering from alcoholism is challenging, but possible. Have strategies in place that keep your commitment to sobriety, because then you can stay clean. If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol addiction, we are here for you. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.