As a recovering addict, it’s inevitable that one will be put into situation in which his or her sobriety is put to the test. One of the most common instances is at social gatherings. With one’s fellow attendees jovial and enjoying the libations, it can be extremely tempting to join in on their fun. When they begin to offer alcohol or drugs, one’s willpower is further put to the test. For individuals who are in the process of recovery or who are former addicts, it’s important to know some useful ways to turn down alcohol and drugs without being impolite, offending someone, or outing oneself as an addict in recovery. Therefore, the following are 10 effective ways for a recovering addict to turn down alcohol and drugs without sacrificing fun and friendliness at social events.
1. Diffuse with humor and an awesome one-liner
It’s very common for people to use humor to lighten the mood when certain topics come up. Similarly, there are many recovering addicts who use humor like a protective shield, keeping them safe from themselves. Instead of accepting alcohol or drugs or possibly offending someone with an outright rejection, humor can be used to communicate one’s response in a lighthearted way. When someone offers you a drink or drugs, say something like, “I don’t know if that’s a good idea… is your homeowner’s insurance paid up?” Or “Oh yes, I’d love a drink — because I also love throwing up in people’s pools!” There are a million other possibilities, each of which will likely score a person points as the party’s premiere comedian.
2. “No, thank you” is always in style
This one is simply a classic that can be used in virtually any situation, not just those related to alcohol and drugs. It can be used to decline an offer while showing appreciation for the individual’s generosity at the same time. Best of it, it requires no special timing or delivery. Saying “No, thank you,” is just a great way to decline a drink without needing to explain any further.
3. Prepare in advance with the tried-and-true buddy system
The so-called “buddy system” has been around since the dawn of time… or at least the last couple decades. In short, it entails a person having his or her own wingman or wingwoman as a co-attendant to the social event; this “wingperson” essentially watches the individual’s back, helping him or her to stay sober and providing backup or reinforcements when it becomes necessary in order for the recovering addict to stay sober.
4. Go mingle with the sober crowd
There’s a very good chance that at any given event or gathering, there’s more than a single person who’s remaining sober. In some cases, it may be that there are a handful of designated drivers who are likewise imbibing only soda for the evening. For a recovering addict, these fellow sober individuals are the ideal crowd in which to mingle. They don’t always congregate together as that would be too convenient, but they’re not usually too difficult to pick out from the crowd. They’re the ones still wearing all their clothes and who aren’t repeatedly trying to crowdsurf.
5. Be honest about the situation
It may not be one’s first choice, but there’s always the option to simply come clean and admit that the reason he or she is remaining sober is due to a previous substance abuse problem. Unless a person is naturally candid and forthcoming, this is usually a card that gets played when people are being too persistent and trying to force alcohol or drugs onto a person. However, most people will be very understanding. It’s also likely that there will be a few people who will be interested in hear one’s recovery story, which might encourage them to get sober as well.
6. Head outside for some out-of-doors fun
If a particular gathering or event is taking place in the dead of winter, this may not be the most viable option, but the underlying principle remains the same. Instead offending someone by declining his or her generous alcohol or drugs, one can simply excuse him or herself and head outside or to another area in order to pursue some other type of activity. There are countless possibilities that will vary from one location to the next: Pick up that guitar in the corner and strum a little tune, practice shuffling with that deck of cards over there, or grab a camera and go document the event for friends and attendees. When weather permits, outdoor activities abound, limited only by one’s imagination.
7. Attend a support group meeting before and/or after
When attending some type of event where alcohol and/or drugs are sure to be readily available, it’s a really, really good idea to attend a support group meeting. This will ensure that a person heads into the event with the right mindset, making it easier for him or her to remain sober. Similarly, it’s a good idea to attend a meeting afterwards, too. An after-party meeting can be one’s opportunity to share with other group members about how he or she just attended a party and was able to remain sober by turning down alcohol and drugs.
8. Simply avoid exposure
Comparable to going outside or to another area of the party, avoiding exposure is another effective way to resist mind-altering substances without compromising one’s ability to have a good time. In short, simply keep a distance from the areas of the gathering where drinks are being served and imbibed or where drugs are being used. If a person keeps a distance from partygoers who are enjoying the event’s alcohol and drugs, it’s unlikely for them to offer the libations to someone who can’t or doesn’t want to consume them.
9. Politely decline the invite
Especially for those who are in the earlier stages of their recovery, a person may not want to rock his or her recovery boat by putting him or herself into situations where a relapse is going to be especially tempting or where alcohol and drugs are more readily available. In other words, if a person doesn’t think he or she can handle the pressure involved in being offered alcohol or drugs, it’s best to just avoid the pressure altogether. Moreover, by politely declining, a person is expressing appreciation for being invited while being unable to attend. Best of all, no bridges get burned in the process.
10. In case of emergency, please exit through the entrance
Let’s say that a person accepted an invite, doesn’t attend a meeting before the event, doesn’t bring a sober buddy or wingperson, and isn’t the most adept comedian; rather than letting a relapse be inevitable, there’s always the possibility of leaving the party or event if the individual feels that his or her sobriety is at risk and his or her willpower is slipping. If it’s necessary to explain, one could simply tell the host that something has come up that requires one’s immediate attention — which is essentially true — and politely thank him or her for the invite before leaving through the entrance. Upon returning home, this individual can congratulate him or herself for having the strength to walk away rather than relapse.
Call Sound Recovery Solutions Today to Begin Your Healing Journey
There’s no “right” way to achieve long-lasting sobriety; however, the journey from addiction to health begins with a call to Sound Recovery Solutions. We believe that everyone deserves the chance to overcome addiction and regain their happiness, relationships, and opportunities. For a free consultation and assessment, call Sound Recovery Solutions at 561-666-7427 today. Our intake and recovery specialists are available anytime, day or night, to help anyone find the right program and treatments for his or her specific needs.