One reason people say they do not want to give up substances is they worry about losing their friends. The truth is, these friends are not going to hang out when the going gets tough in recovery. They might be facing their own challenges with sobriety and addiction that can bring down your journey. Not everyone is going to travel with you into recovery. That can be a hard truth to accept. The social circle might get smaller, but that does not mean it is a bad thing. Physical and emotional health is more important than friends who are only there when you want to party. Sobriety changes socializing, but it does not have to stop the fun.
Avoid Events with Alcohol
One of the bigger shifts for people with addiction is to stop hanging out at parties and around people who drink a lot. Early on in recovery, this can be a massive trigger. Sometimes even the smell of alcohol brings a flood of memories, thoughts, and feelings that are hard to dismiss. Alcohol is communal and brings people together. It can seem like people drink everywhere; holidays, work parties, going-away parties, after-work events. To get away from most events with alcohol takes intentionality but it also brings peace of mind to your sobriety.
Everything Changes (for the Better)
It may not seem like things are better right now. They shift and morph over time. Recovery is not a one-and-done shot. It takes effort to make it work. A huge turning point is accepting this is a big deal and not pushing it aside. To deal with sobriety every day means facing all the moving parts: your past, the present, and now a future without alcohol. Sometimes that means being the only sober person you know for a while. Until you meet new friends and begin to change the dynamics of your life to revolve around sober fun.
Create New Hobbies
The old way of having fun has to change. In recovery, you are not going to be hanging out in bars and having fun the same way or with the same people. It can trigger a relapse early on, so it is best to find other things to do now. That can mean shifting your entire life towards sobriety. This will feel like starting over again, for a while until it becomes your new normal. Some of the best hobbies you can do for yourself in recovery might be:
- Going to movies with sober friends
- Throwing a sober party
- Journal writing or starting to write your own story for a book
- Join the adventure and sports clubs where people are sober
- Try meditation, mindfulness, and yoga spaces to see if those are a good fit
Have Backup Plans
Social occasions can be stressful for people, especially holidays and times when alcohol may be more freely available. Take alcohol-free drinks with you wherever you go. Take a sober friend for moral support. Find a way to plan ahead so that you don’t get stuck in a situation that is too triggering and find yourself surprised. Every plan should include an escape plan. Friends who support you will be there for you to help you navigate the situation and get out unscathed.
Traveling sober is hard. Going places where it is unfamiliar territory, the old friends are not there to help you or prop you up while you go is difficult. A big challenge for people in recovery is finding places to go and things to see that don’t trigger you. If you want to go travel, there are some tips to have fun but stay connected to sobriety:
- Do a staycation that is well planned around staying sober yet is still fun. Travel to a local city or place that has recovery meetings and is close for people to come help if needed
- Take a sober friend or friends with. Don’t travel solo until you feel confident you can handle yourself and the triggers that might come up
- Find a sober travel planning agency that focuses on planning sober trips
- Go to national parks and places where there are not a lot of bars or drinking (maybe avoid the rowdy caravan parks)
- Check out festivals with friends that might be fun but plan around what to do if there is drinking going on
Sobriety is the new normal. There is little to no stigma attached to people who do not drink. The stigma comes at people who drink or stop drinking. Don’t worry about those things now in recovery. Only share your story with people you trust and know. If your social group is built around anyone who is stigmatizing, it is best to find some new friends. Sobriety does not mean giving up having fun. It means shifting your version of fun and the way you perceive yourself in the world having fun. A sober lifestyle should be taken seriously, but not so seriously you forget how to have fun and enjoy life a little bit.
Casa Capri is designed for women who are struggling with addiction to find hope and a purpose. Our goal at Casa Capri is to give you tools and support for the journey of recovery. Whether you give up alcohol or drugs or some other addiction, we give you a safe space to be vulnerable and heal. We also provide space to learn how to have fun and enjoy living life in recovery. If you are ready to give it a try, call Casa Capri today: 844-593-8020
Melissa Holmes Goodmon is the founder and CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, a leading California addiction treatment center created just for women—by women. Melissa is a licensed clinician and has stayed on the cutting edge of women’s treatment since 2006. Because of her own beautiful recovery story, she is proud to be among a small group of trailblazers since founding Casa Capri Recovery for Women in 2011, leading the way for other women to join them in this otherwise male-dominated industry. She is considered an advocate for the recovery community in the truest sense, standing up to discrimination and legally fighting for the rights of sober people in recovery to live in peace. To learn more about advocacy or if you’ve experienced discrimination, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out casacaprirecovery.com for more information on our program, or please give us a call at 844-207-4880.