Are you worried about being in social settings as a recovering alcoholic? Partying and drinking are part of your old life, can you be around them now?

Your sobriety is your number one priority. It’s okay if you’re not able to be around alcohol right now.

But, if you think you’re up to it, there are things you can do to make it easier. Your friend’s wedding or birthday party doesn’t have to be as stress-inducing as it feels.

Enjoy this season of parties, celebrations, and festivals. Keep reading for 8 tips for how to stay sober around temptation.

1. Visualize

Mindfulness and meditation are two tools often taught to those in recovery. Being present is also super important. One trick from the mindfulness wheelhouse is visualization.

When you can imagine yourself doing something, it becomes less scary.

Picture yourself at the bar with friends. Imagine ordering a soda water or virgin cocktail. See your friends accept you for you and be proud of your decision.

If you’re scared of saying no in a social setting, visualize it happening in the best possible way. Once you’ve seen it happen in your mind, you know it can happen in reality.

2. Get the Details

Try to learn about the event beforehand. If it’s a wedding, find out if there’s going to be an open bar or a champagne toast. Plan what you’ll drink instead.

If possible, talk to the event’s host. You could let them know about your situation, or say you don’t drink alcohol. Confirm that there will be non-alcoholic options.

Talking to the host in advance can also ensure they don’t pressure you to drink. It’s normal at parties for people to buy drinks for their friends. Let them know in advance you don’t want that.

3. Bring a Sober Friend

There’s strength in numbers. Consider bringing a sober friend to the party or event with you. They don’t have to be in recovery, just someone who’s committed to being sober for the night.

Having someone to say “no” to drinks with can make you feel less alone. You won’t be as susceptible to peer pressure when you’re not alone.

They can also act as your accountability partner. If they know your situation, they know how important sobriety is to you.

Plus, it means you have someone to leave with at the end of the night. No need to be present when the fun turns sloppy. You can leave together.

4. Use an Excuse

When acquaintances and strangers offer you a drink at parties, you can make up an excuse for saying no. Your friends may know you’re in recovery, but new people won’t. It’s totally okay for you to lie if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your story.

Choose an excuse that’s impossible to argue with. Like, “I’m allergic to alcohol” or “It makes me really sick”. Being a designated driver also makes people ease off the pressure. No one wants to encourage you to drink if you’re driving.

Practice saying “no” in advance. This way, when the time comes, you’ll be comfortable saying it to the nice person offering you a drink.

5. Plan Transportation

When you’re staying sober for an event, you may not want to stay for the whole duration. Drinkers tend to get sloppy after a certain time of night. That can be triggering for you.

Instead, consider being a designated driver. You brought a car and can leave on your own whenever you want.

Or, have the number of a cab company ready to go. If you start to feel weak around temptation, exit the situation. Planning your transportation gives you that option.

6. Remember Your Reasons

Before and during the party, remember your reasons for staying sober. You don’t have to walk down memory lane but go over the main reasons you don’t want to drink.

That could mean thinking of your kids or family. What are your life goals? Think about how far you’ve come in your sobriety; every day is a battle won.

Consider asking a friend to text you your reasons during the party. Every time you look at your phone, you’ll see a friendly reminder of what you’re fighting for.

7. Have Fun

There are so many ways to have fun without drinking alcohol. Experiment with different fun activities at the party.

If you liked dancing while drunk, see if it’s still fun while sober. Request your favorite song to get played. Surround yourself with people who love dancing too.

Or, start conversations with new people. Get to know them and learn about them. It’s surprising how much you can have in common with strangers.

Get involved in games and activities at the event. These are great ways to take your attention away from temptations. Focus on having fun and not on the bar.

8. Go to Meetings

Many recovering alcoholics use AA meetings to maintain sobriety. They provide support, encouragement, and advice. Take advantage of the meetings held in your city.

You should plan to go to a meeting before the social event and after.

The meeting beforehand can reinforce your focus. It’ll remind you of tools you have within yourself to stay strong. You can even discuss the party and how you plan on avoiding temptation.

The meeting after the event is for accountability. Show yourself that you can be around alcohol without giving in. Discuss the struggles you faced and how you handled them.

Want More Tips for How to Stay Sober?

If you decide that you want to go to a social gathering where alcohol will be, get prepared. This could be an extremely triggering and tempting situation. You need to feel prepared to resist temptation and stay strong.

Use the tips above when planning how to stay sober. Surround yourself with supports and focus on having fun without drinking.

For more information on sober-living and addiction recovery, check out our blog.