Once you’ve achieved sobriety, you might feel like you’ve started a new life. Perhaps you feel the healthiest you’ve ever been. You probably have a new group of friends—all of whom are most likely either sober themselves or supportive of your sobriety. Staying sober is contingent on so many things and it varies for each individual but, no matter who you are, there are some places that will be more difficult to be in than others. You don’t need to avoid these places or types of events (unless you want to), but knowing that your environment might be especially challenging in advance can help you to prepare so that you can maintain your sobriety.
1. Booze-Centered Parties or Functions
At a normal party most people might drink but the event is not centered around drinking. While even regular parties might be difficult for you to attend in your sobriety, you might find success in doing so because you are strong or maybe you have a sober friend you know you can always count on to tag along with you for moral support. Other types of parties and events, however, might be so centered on drinking that you’ll feel uncomfortable if you aren’t drinking. Some of these include: wine tastings, tours of breweries and distilleries, keg parties or parties where the host has specifically chosen a drink to be served for a specific reason (hint: a Mad Men-themed martini event). You don’t have to steer clear of these functions per se, but your life might be easier if you do.
2. With a Friend Who Wants You to Drink
This seems obvious—when you’re sober, you don’t want to hang around friends who want you to drink. You’re probably not even friends with people like this anymore. But friends who are usually supportive of your sobriety might find themselves wanting to persuade you to drink under extreme circumstances. Example: if a friend asks you to meet him or her at a bar after getting fired or divorced, you might want to ask to meet somewhere else or bring a sober buddy along.
3. Events With a Past Drinking Culture
You aren’t a completely different person just because you’re sober and so you probably still like a lot of the same things. That’s fair. But some of those old things you used to do are going to be more difficult now. This might include rock concerts, sporting events, casinos, happy hour and even dinner parties if wine is a focal point alongside dinner in your circle of friends.
4. Places or People That Trigger You Emotionally
When you used to drink, you drank too much for a reason. And certain places and people probably triggered you to drink more than other places or people. If you know that you used to feel a stronger compulsion to drink around a certain ex or perhaps in a place where you have a bad memory, try to steer clear of those places and people. It’s not worth the temptation.
With concerted effort and a good support group, you can stay sober in any environment. But an important part of successful sobriety is knowing yourself and knowing where not to go.