Going to a party tonight? Here are seven quick tips that can help you to stay sober.
1. Make a plan. Decide in advance that there’s no way in the world you will drink or use drugs at the event. Ask for help from your Higher Power, because you may need it. Rehearse exactly what you will say if someone asks, “Would you like a drink?” or “Want to do a line in the bathroom?”
2. Bring a friend. Think of yourself as swimming in deep swift waters, and take an AA or NA buddy with you. Or take someone at the party into your confidence (the host, a good friend, even a waiter); candor will serve you better than pride, embarrassment, or guilt. Tell them that you can’t drink, and enlist them as bodyguard. It will make the event easier for you, and will keep you from winding up in a relapse. If you can’t take someone with you, arrange to text or video chat with someone throughout the evening. Or arrange to call your sponsor every hour on the hour. Build in some accountability, however you can.
3. Serve yourself. If you can, bring your own water bottle or glass full of soda, so you don’t even have to go near the bar. If you don’t bring your own, when you arrive head straight to the liquid refreshments and help yourself to a safe option such as sparking water. Keep your beverage in your hand for the rest of the evening. That way you won’t have to keep turning down offers of something to drink. People won’t be asking you, and unknowingly tempting you. If you set your drink down while you’re dancing or when you step into the bathroom, get a new one when you return. Don’t take a chance on picking up the wrong glass, or anyone having accidentally switched drinks or topped yours off.
4. Remember your last drink. If the thought of a drink occurs, first think it through. Remember your last drink. Then leave the event and call your sponsor or AA friend.
5. Curb resentment. You’re almost sure to run into someone who’ll say, “Do you mind if I have a drink?” Your automatic answer will most likely be “Oh, no, I don’t mind.” The truth is you probably do resent it. You’re as good as the other guy. If he can drink, why can’t you? If you feel resentment building, make your excuses and find your sober buddy, slip out to a meeting, or head to the hallway and call or text your sponsor. Whip out your phone or tablet for a quick check-in with a recovery app, or a mobile meeting or recovery forum app. Or head home and go to an online meeting
6. Be ready to leave. Keep your car keys or taxi fare in your pocket. Should drugs appear, or if you suddenly feel overwhelmed by temptation, leave immediately. Do not try to test yourself.
7. Take inventory the next day. The day after you go to an event with alcohol you may well fall into self-pity mode. “Why can’t I have fun like those other people?” Don’t let those feelings and ideas simmer. If they do, they can push you right over the edge into a relapse. Plug right back into your recovery program. Call or text your sponsor, double up on meetings, and read your literature. Be honest about any feelings that arose from being around the drinking and using scene.
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