In early recovery, social occasions produce anxious moments: first, while you are anticipating them, and then while you are there experiencing them. Your anxiety is legitimate; after all, you are now living life without the effects of alcohol. Like any new experience, you wonder how you will fit in, and as a recovering addict, you worry that the social environment will draw you back into your addiction.
Many experts recommend that during early recovery, you should avoid occasions where alcohol is going to be present, just as you avoid old friends or family members who shared or enabled your addictive behavior. But here’s a more difficult dilemma: Should you also avoid social activities that you once enjoyed while drinking, even if no alcohol is present? Does the activity alone make you vulnerable?
The Answer Depends on You
Getting to know your “sober” self is a big part of recovery. As you learn more coping skills and gain more insight into your own triggers, you will also gain confidence. If you once enjoyed country dancing, you’ll be able to join the line dances at the local recreation center and have a good time. If you liked to watch football with friends, you’ll still be able to enjoy a non-alcoholic game-day party without worrying that it will take you back to your drinking days.
Tips to Shake Off the Anxiety
Here are some ways to reassure yourself when you first venture out into old activities as a sober person:
1. Talk to your support group—find out how others have handled the situation.
2. Review your triggers and coping strategies.
3. Have an exit plan in case you feel you need to leave.
4. Take along a sober friend to act as support.
5. Relax and have fun. Remember that you are choosing to participate in these activities because you enjoy them. Sobriety allows you to get the most out of your experience.
A Social Model for Sobriety
Men 18 and older find new, sober lives at 10 Acre Ranch, southern CA’s residential rehab center. We provide activities and treatment that allow men to connect and support each other as they achieve sobriety. Call 877-228-4679 today to learn about our social treatment model and to start the insurance verification process.