How can you stay sober AND have fun with your friends?
There is ALWAYS something going on somewhere in Orange County, even during the fall – bonfires, parties, or just hanging out at the beach. But how do you navigate potentially-risky situations where there is likely to be recreational drug use or drinking?
Handling social situations is one of the biggest challenges of recovery. Here are a few tips to help you have a substance-free good time.
Tip #1: Knowledge Is Power
Find out everything possible about the event beforehand —where, who’s hosting, guests, etc. This will help you avoid dangerous situations and certain people who might trigger cravings or self-destructive behaviors.
Tip #2: You CAN Always Say “NO”
Don’t feel obligated or pressured to attend every get-together. If you are feeling stressed, uncomfortable, or you just have too much on your plate, it’s better to just stay home.
Tip #3: Don’t Skip Your Meetings
Keeping active and regularly attending 12-Step fellowship meetings can help you from developing a lazy summer time attitude about recovery. Talk to your sponsor about your feelings about any parties. You are invited to.
Tip #4: Proper Planning Prevents Potential Problems
Never let yourself get too hungry or thirsty at a party – your brain may mistake those natural signals as drug cravings. Eat before you go, and maybe even bring your own snacks and nonalcoholic drinks along.
Tip #5: Bring Backup
You can better withstand temptation if you don’t have to face it alone. Bring along a sober buddy who supports your recovery. Stick with them, and it will be easier to stick to your goals.
Tip #6: Know Your Limits
Never let yourself get too tired—that’s when it’s way too easy to make poor decisions. Show up, have a good time, and know when to call it a night. Consider giving YOURSELF a curfew.
Tip #7: ALWAYS Have an Exit Strategy
No matter how much you plan, you may encounter an unexpected and uncomfortable situation. Be ready to leave the party at once if either the situation or your drug/alcohol cravings are overwhelming. If necessary, bring along bus or cab fare. Have your parents or a friend standing by to come and pick you up, no questions asked.
Tip #8: Make Your Own Fun
If other people’s parties are too stressful, host your own. You can plan your own alcohol-and-drug-free gatherings and have just as much fun. But if that seems like too much hassle, get together with a friend or two and take advantage of everything else that Orange County fans going on during the summer – festivals, fairs, and concerts, for example.
Tip #9: It Works If You Work It
Recovery is a process that requires work on your part. Among other things, you must:
- Read recovery literature
- Participate in peer group sessions
- Discuss problems with your individual therapist
- Eat right
- Attend 12-Step meetings
- Talk things over with your sponsor
- Take any prescribed recovery medications
The more actively involved you are in your own recovery, the stronger and more confident you will be when you are facing temptation out among your peers.
Tip #10: Know What’s Really Important
Keep in mind that your primary goal is progressing in your recovery. Whenever you feel tempted to drink or use it, remind yourself everything you are gaining by staying sober:
- Your physical and mental health
- The trust of your parents
- Real friendships
- Freedom from compulsion
If you want to know more about how to live a substance-free life, contact Teensavers today. For over 35 years, Teensavers has been the most-trusted alcohol and drug rehab in Orange County, helping teens and families overcome addictive and behavioral disorders.
by Albert Fontenot