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Staying Sober in Social Settings: Strategies for Success

Overcoming addiction is just the beginning of your road to recovery. Maintaining sobriety can sometimes be difficult, especially if you are exposed to old triggers in social settings that can bring up cravings to abuse drugs or alcohol. While avoiding social settings entirely is unrealistic, there are several strategies you can use for staying sober in social settings.

At Outpatient Los Angeles, we are a leading outpatient addiction treatment center in LA that’s here to help you safely lead a healthier, happier life of sobriety. With a range of addiction treatment options available, we’re here to help you break free of addiction for good. Contact us to start your road to recovery today!

5 Strategies to Help Maintain Your Sobriety in Social Settings

Just because you overcame addiction doesn’t mean you can’t fall victim to old triggers that can jeopardize your sobriety. Research finds that 40-60% of people treated for substance use disorders relapse. Below are several strategies you can use to maintain your sobriety. 

Create an Exit Plan

First, it’s important that you have a clear exit plan in place before going to a party or other social function. This will ensure that if you experience any triggers or old cravings to abuse drugs or alcohol, you can quickly leave the situation and avoid risking your sobriety. Setting a clear exit plan also ensures you aren’t stuck somewhere that puts your recovery at risk. For example, consider driving yourself to a party or social gathering rather than driving with a friend. Otherwise, if you want to leave, but your friend doesn’t, this can keep you longer in the social setting, which can be bad if you are experiencing old triggers or cravings. 

Bring Along an Accountability Friend

That being said, you don’t necessarily want to go in social settings alone, especially if you are attending a social setting like a party where you know alcohol will be there. Consider bringing along an accountability friend you can lean on for support and to keep you accountable during the event to avoid risking your sobriety. Your friend will not only serve as someone who can ensure you don’t fall back into old habits of drinking (or doing drugs), but they can also keep you company during the event!

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

It’s important to set clear boundaries with yourself and others depending on the type of social setting you are going to. In other words, don’t be afraid to say no. For example, if you are at a party and someone offers you an alcoholic beverage, and you are a recovering alcoholic, decline the drink. You don’t need to explain yourself if you don’t want to; however, it’s crucial you say no to drinking alcohol if someone asks you because chances are they may not know that you are recovering from addiction. 

Pick the Right Social Settings

With that being said, consider which social settings and events you attend, and which events you decline. While being sober doesn’t mean you can’t attend any party or social function anymore, it does mean you should be more careful with what events you go to and, specifically, who will be at those events. For example, going to a party to celebrate a friend’s engagement is harmless. However, going to a party with old friends you used to abuse drugs with is not the type of social situation you should be putting yourself in, as this can easily jeopardize your sobriety. 

Consider Bringing Alcohol-Free Beverages to Parties 

Last but not least, if you want to attend a party where you know alcohol will be present but you don’t want to feel out of place with not drinking, consider bringing your own alcohol-free beverages or creating a mocktail. 

Top-Rated Outpatient Addiction Treatment in LA

Staying sober in social settings can be hard, especially if you don’t have the right strategies in place to set healthy boundaries and preserve your sobriety. However, the above strategies lay a solid framework so you can still enjoy certain events while staying sober in social settings. 

At Outpatient Los Angeles, our team of addiction and mental health professionals is here to guide you along your recovery journey. You should never feel too afraid to ask for help when it comes to leading a healthier, happier life. Contact us today to learn how we can best support your recovery journey.

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