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GirlGoneBad 04-22-2015 07:08 AM

Being Sober While Others Aren't
 
Good Morning (here) All:

It's day 4 for me and I feel even better than yesterday. It's great to be here and to read and hear other people's journeys.

My question for you this morning is regarding tips and tools you use to stay sober in social engagements where it is the norm to drink and get drunk. For many of us, it's spring and there are lots going on: weddings (bachelorette parties), graduations, birthdays, the list goes on. How do you stay sober when those around you are getting drunk? And on that note, what are some good NON- alcoholic beverages you order?

gettingsmarter 04-22-2015 07:14 AM

If you think there is a possibility you might drink don't go.

JaneLane 04-22-2015 07:23 AM

I went to a wedding sober last year and it was good! Plus I looked decent. No weary, tired looking, reddish photos!

The coping mechanism that worked for me was three fold:

1. Always have a drink in hand. Mine is lemonade or cranberry and lemonade.
2. Keep occupied with the least drunk people in the room. If you hang out on a table full of drunk people it's not going to keep you exactly stimulated!
3. Go outside. I went outside three or four times during the evening once the meal was done. Spoke to people that were smoking and got some fresh air as it was on the seafront.

ScottFromWI 04-22-2015 07:24 AM

I stayed away from any alcohol-related event completely for a couple of months. Nowadays I divide events into 2 categories when I consider going

1. Events EXCLUSIVELY designed for drinking and nothing else: Bachelor parties, bars, "guys" weekends up at the cabin, etc. Even with multiple years of sobriety under my belt I do not attend these events. The main goal of these is to drink, and I do not drink so there is no reason for me to be there.

2. Events/Places where alcohol is served, but it is not the main focus: Reunions, Weddings, Funerals, Graduation Parties, etc: I attend these, but I also notice that while alcohol is available, not everyone is drinking it. In fact, the majority of people drink very little or nothing at all. As an alcoholic, I of course hung out with the other drinkers at these events in the past. But as you open your eyes to the world around you, you notice that the barfiles/drinking crowd is really the minority. Most people dont' even notice what you are drinking or if you are drinking anything at all.

Another thing to consider is attending only parts of said events. For example, it's perfectly acceptable to attend a wedding without going to the reception. Or go to the reception and just stay for the meal and share your congratulations.

doggonecarl 04-22-2015 07:25 AM

One of the things the newly sober don't quite grasp is how much change is required to successfully recover from alcoholism. Change in what we do, where we go, who we engage with socially. Drastic change. There are many aspect of your old life you are going to have to let go off...not just the alcohol. And some of the things you will have to let go off, at least in the early weeks and months of sobriety, is, "weddings (bachelorette parties), graduations, birthdays, the list goes on."

I would also advise not to do too much worrying about summer drinking in April, four days sober. Just worry about not drinking today.

Good luck.

GirlGoneBad 04-22-2015 07:26 AM


Originally Posted by gettingsmarter (Post 5331320)
If you think there is a possibility you might drink don't go.

I understand that, and I intend on avoiding a lot of drinking related engagements, but it's sometimes unavoidable. For example, my fiancÚ is graduating in a few weeks and there will be a dinner and of course, drinking. I have to go and support him in his graduation. It's honestly impossible to avoid alcohol completely. I just want to be able to say, "I'm fine with a Diet Coke."

GirlGoneBad 04-22-2015 07:28 AM


Originally Posted by JaneLane (Post 5331324)
I went to a wedding sober last year and it was good! Plus I looked decent. No weary, tired looking, reddish photos! The coping mechanism that worked for me was three fold: 1. Always have a drink in hand. Mine is lemonade or cranberry and lemonade. 2. Keep occupied with the least drunk people in the room. If you hang out on a table full of drunk people it's not going to keep you exactly stimulated! 3. Go outside. I went outside three or four times during the evening once the meal was done. Spoke to people that were smoking and got some fresh air as it was on the seafront.

AWESOME advice, JL! I think I am going to enjoy social engagements more because I will be able to remember them! I was thinking club soda and ginger ale but I love lemonade and cranberry!!

aflo1 04-22-2015 07:33 AM

Good question. I am having anxiety about this also.

ScottFromWI 04-22-2015 07:40 AM


Originally Posted by GirlGoneBad (Post 5331328)
I understand that, and I intend on avoiding a lot of drinking related engagements, but it's sometimes unavoidable. For example, my fiancÚ is graduating in a few weeks and there will be a dinner and of course, drinking. I have to go and support him in his graduation. It's honestly impossible to avoid alcohol completely. I just want to be able to say, "I'm fine with a Diet Coke."

In most situations you don't need to say anything. The only person who obsesses bout whether you are drinking alcohol or not is you ( not you personally, but you as in the alcoholic ). Honestly no one else really cares or even notices. If you really start looking around at a graduation party for instance, you will notice that most people aren't spending their time hanging out by the beer cooler - just a few are. Everyone else is enjoying the company of others and may or may not be drinking, but none of them even think twice about it.

GirlGoneBad 04-22-2015 07:41 AM


Originally Posted by ScottFromWI (Post 5331325)
I stayed away from any alcohol-related event completely for a couple of months. Nowadays I divide events into 2 categories when I consider going 1. Events EXCLUSIVELY designed for drinking and nothing else: Bachelor parties, bars, "guys" weekends up at the cabin, etc. Even with multiple years of sobriety under my belt I do not attend these events. The main goal of these is to drink, and I do not drink so there is no reason for me to be there. 2. Events/Places where alcohol is served, but it is not the main focus: Reunions, Weddings, Funerals, Graduation Parties, etc: I attend these, but I also notice that while alcohol is available, not everyone is drinking it. In fact, the majority of people drink very little or nothing at all. As an alcoholic, I of course hung out with the other drinkers at these events in the past. But as you open your eyes to the world around you, you notice that the barfiles/drinking crowd is really the minority. Most people dont' even notice what you are drinking or if you are drinking anything at all. Another thing to consider is attending only parts of said events. For example, it's perfectly acceptable to attend a wedding without going to the reception. Or go to the reception and just stay for the meal and share your congratulations.

Awesome advice! I agree that the bachelorette party I've been invited to won't help matters at all. I think in light of your advice I will probably go eat dinner and watch her open gifts and then let them go on.

GirlGoneBad 04-22-2015 07:42 AM


Originally Posted by doggonecarl (Post 5331326)
One of the things the newly sober don't quite grasp is how much change is required to successfully recover from alcoholism. Change in what we do, where we go, who we engage with socially. Drastic change. There are many aspect of your old life you are going to have to let go off...not just the alcohol. And some of the things you will have to let go off, at least in the early weeks and months of sobriety, is, "weddings (bachelorette parties), graduations, birthdays, the list goes on." I would also advise not to do too much worrying about summer drinking in April, four days sober. Just worry about not drinking today. Good luck.

Awesome advice. Thank you!

ChloeRose63 04-22-2015 07:43 AM

I have to remind myself that "having a good time" can happen without drinking. We all seem to be programmed by tv ads and society in general that we can only have fun and laughter when we are drinking alcohol. It was hard the first few times to try and 'fit in' at parties without being an outcast. To be honest, I have to remind myself that I am stronger than I think I am.

GotGrace 04-22-2015 11:56 AM

Go easy on yourself and excuse yourself when you need to. I was surprised when I went to a college reunion last summer how tired I was after several hours of sober socializing! So I excused myself and went back to my hotel room, sober at midnight, and felt great the next morning when most everyone else looked like they wanted to die. My point is this: it is tiring because you are using a lot of mental and emotional energy to keep yourself motivated. If you need to be done, be done.

Oh, and tonic water with lime looks an awful lot like a gin and tonic, so it might keep the questions at bay! And it is delicious!

Dee74 04-22-2015 02:35 PM

Well, I missed a few weddings and graduations etc.

Staying sober was that important to me - and I figured lets face it I'd blown off things for years because I was too drunk anyway.

I need to put a little distance between the way I used to do things and they way I wanted to do things now.

but...if you feel you have to go there are some good tips here - not just for Thanksgiving :)

Crying Out Now: Thanksgiving Survival Guide

saoutchik 04-22-2015 02:59 PM

Agree with what others have said GGB, you probably a bit too early in recovery to be around drinkers right now. I sort dipped in at the shallow end with going to restaurants and the occasional lunchtime bar visit with other working people where it is not de rigeur any more to drink at lunchtime.

Also having a break from drinking buddy activities helps you to aquire new things to do.

On the non alcohol beverages I have not found them to be very nice. Have started to make fruit drinks (smoothies etc) at home. You can also buy them in some bars if you do go to one but they are staggeringly expensive (at least where I live they are) more than alcoholic drinks

newpage119 04-22-2015 03:29 PM


Originally Posted by GirlGoneBad (Post 5331330)
AWESOME advice, JL! I think I am going to enjoy social engagements more because I will be able to remember them! I was thinking club soda and ginger ale but I love lemonade and cranberry!!

Add iced tea to the list! And club soda with anything. Half fruit juice and half club soda is great.
Izze is a bottled/canned drink that tastes fabulous...not everyone has that though.....

Then there are the "virgin" versions of the drinks, like virgin coladas, margaritas, virgin Mary, etc....but I never trust restaurant servers to not accidentally give me the real thing, so I avoid those! :e052:

damascus1986 04-22-2015 03:35 PM

i will just say the longer ive stayed clean and harder i workedn on the steps. the less i wanted to drink. it just isnt appealing anymore. " to say im fine with a diet coke" i had to work on me. i definetly stayed away from all situations for a while and you 're right u cant aviod alcohol or drugs forever. i needed to put enough recovery in my system so when the situation arose i was prepared

AliWProk 04-22-2015 04:48 PM

I can't stand being around really drunk people, it's annoying. I'd avoid those events.

bigsombrero 04-22-2015 05:10 PM

It seems like right now, when you think "social event" you think "alcohol". You're already trying to imagine new sober self in those situations and you're trying to work out how you'll fit.

Being an alcoholic myself, I felt the same way about 3 years ago. How would I go to my buddies' back yard BBQs, weddings, and get-togethers? Well, here's what worked for me: I didn't go. I removed the worry and stress and danger all together by just removing those events from the equation. We often neglect to even entertain that option - in fact sometimes we forget that we don't have to attend.

Congrats on Day 4. Keep it up! In early sobriety it's sometimes good to focus on the day in front of you, rather than on drinking perils down the road. All the best!

Kaneda8888 04-22-2015 06:00 PM


Originally Posted by ScottFromWI (Post 5331325)
I stayed away from any alcohol-related event completely for a couple of months. Nowadays I divide events into 2 categories when I consider going

1. Events EXCLUSIVELY designed for drinking and nothing else: Bachelor parties, bars, "guys" weekends up at the cabin, etc. Even with multiple years of sobriety under my belt I do not attend these events. The main goal of these is to drink, and I do not drink so there is no reason for me to be there.

2. Events/Places where alcohol is served, but it is not the main focus: Reunions, Weddings, Funerals, Graduation Parties, etc: I attend these, but I also notice that while alcohol is available, not everyone is drinking it. In fact, the majority of people drink very little or nothing at all. As an alcoholic, I of course hung out with the other drinkers at these events in the past. But as you open your eyes to the world around you, you notice that the barfiles/drinking crowd is really the minority. Most people dont' even notice what you are drinking or if you are drinking anything at all.

Another thing to consider is attending only parts of said events. For example, it's perfectly acceptable to attend a wedding without going to the reception. Or go to the reception and just stay for the meal and share your congratulations.

I echo this sentiment. For the first 3 months, I tried to avoid any event where there is alcohol freely served. Once I went to my boss' leaving farewell in a pub. Lasted less than 30 mins before I had to leave. It may seem painful at first to not attend but you will get over it. Your friends will get over it. Its only a short period of time in the scheme of things.


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