Most of the time we can’t think of things to do when socializing besides going out to eat or grabbing drinks. When you are reinventing your life in recovery, this can make things very difficult. You are changing people, places, and things in order to remain sober and in recovery. Oftentimes, we try to fit into society’s images for what is a successful and productive human being means. This includes gaining employment and/or getting into an educational program. As human beings, we are social creatures. When we meet people in our new school or work settings, we want to make new friends. So, when we are asked to go out with these new people for drinks while we are in recovery, how can we still socialize with them?
By no means would we ever condone going to a bar or party with a lot of drinking when in early recovery, or when attempting to stay sober in general. The temptation can be too much. The thing is, alcohol is everywhere in our society today: Gas stations, movie theatres, fast-food establishments, concerts, get-togethers, and sports games.
So, what are some good refusal skills when we are surrounded by others who are drinking alcohol? Communication is not only verbal in its methodology. Non-verbal means are also important.
- The first thing you should say is “No”. Hold your ground firmly and do not give the other person a chance to allow you to question your decision. There is no reason to feel bad for staying sober.
- On the same note, stay firm on your response and do not hesitate with your answer. This is one time that it is okay to be impulsive. You already know what the consequences of saying “Yes” have been in the past for you. Though, practicing saying “No” when faced with difficult situations can be extremely helpful. Remember that assertive and aggressive communication is not one and the same.
- Let the co-worker know that you would appreciate if they would stop asking you to go drink with them. You do not have to tell them you are an alcoholic if you do not want to. There are many reasons that people decide to not drink.
- Looking someone in their eyes can help reinforce your seriousness regarding the matter.
- Keep good posture. Hold your head high. This shows you are firm in your decision making and not silently questioning what you are saying out loud.
- Bring up a different subject or come up with a different solution to going for drinks.
Alternative Suggestions to Going to a Bar
If you have some trouble saying “no” when you are around others who are drinking other ideas of hangouts could be helpful. Some sober places to hang out and things to do with acquaintances, co-workers, and friends include:
- Coffee houses or eating without ordering alcoholic drinks
- 12-step or support group meetings
- Reading together
- Gyms or group fitness classes
- Cooking or baking
- Zoos or aquariums
- Movies or film festivals
There are so many options to try and see what you may enjoy now that you are sober!
A Great First Step to Sobriety
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