After being dependent on drugs or alcohol for so long, the idea of leading a sober life might feel uncomfortable, possibly even a bit boring. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, there is an entirely different world out there, one that is reserved for both veteran and newly sober individuals. Whenever you are ready to dive back into the social scene, you can have your pick at a variety of substance-free activities and meet friends that are looking for a safe way to enjoy life as well.
While there is plenty of room for you to build a social life that is not centered around getting high or drunk, it might take you some time to find your groove. Certain places will have to be avoided, your friend group will probably end up looking a lot different than before, and you will definitely have to set some ground rules for both yourself and those around you. These drastic changes might be a bit tough to adjust to in the beginning, so don’t be so hard on yourself. Use these few helpful tips to get you on your way.
Do Away With Your Old Routine
The environment in which you chose to socialize can make the difference between a successful night out and an untimely relapse. And as you probably already know, subjecting yourself to familiar places can be triggering and can also spark the dreaded desire to fall back into your old ways. So, while your sobriety is still fresh, do yourself a favor and avoid spending time at your old hangout spots, at least for a few months or so.
As you distance yourself from your old spots, take the opportunity to claim new stomping grounds. Keep an open mind, and consider other pathways to fun, like arcades, museums, sports events, film festivals, or even road trips. Keep a safe distance from bars, and only subject yourself to sober-friendly clubs. If you do happen upon a place in which alcohol and drugs are being used, rely on a trusted friend to keep you from succumbing to temptation.
Be Open to Making New Friends
Take note of your current friend group, and be prepared to distance yourself from anyone who isn’t sober or entirely supportive of your clean lifestyle. And while you’re at it, begin opening yourself up to the possibility of forming new bonds. One of the easiest ways to uphold sobriety is to connect with others who are on the same mission. Do an online search to find a tribe of people who share the same interests and hobbies as you do. You can even visit your local gym or take classes to both fill your time and become acquainted with some friendly faces.
Recovering addicts can be hard to spot as they look just like everyone else. So, to make your search for companionship much easier, you could begin attending 12-step meetings and connect with the other participants. Most of them are just like you, adjusting to sobriety and looking for a support group to make the journey more worthwhile. Try sparking up conversations after each meeting, and see if anyone would be interested in hanging out after hours.
Develop a Game Plan for Social Outings
There is only a matter of time before a beloved friend or family member invites you out for a night of glory, but before you take them up on the offer, you will need to devise a solid game plan. First, come up with transportation arrangements. If at all possible, drive yourself to the event so that you will be able to leave if you become uncomfortable or triggered in any way. Don’t forget to ask around to find out if there will be non-alcoholic drinks on the menu. This will save you from having to sip on water all night. Bring your own beverage if necessary.
Depending on who will be in attendance, you might feel peer pressured into drinking or using substances. If you aren’t comfortable sharing details about your recovery, it could help to come up with some excuses as to why you will be remaining sober for the night. Explain that you have an early morning to look forward to or that you have to stay alert for the drive home. Find a safe place or person to spend time with as the event unfolds, but if things get too hectic, don’t ever feel guilty for leaving early.
Whether you are newly sober or are just in search of a supportive team to help you stay on track, we are here to support you and guide you through your journey. Get in contact with one of our addiction specialists today at 954-523-1167, and let us know how we can serve you during your time of need.