Spring is here! As we come out of hibernation and trade binge-watching Netflix in our sweatpants for soaking up the sun with friends, we realize that warmer weather comes with some challenges. For many, spring and summer are synonymous with drinking. Outdoor parties, music festivals, barbecues, vacations … they often all include alcohol. And if you are in recovery, socializing during warmer months might be challenging. But saying “no” to alcohol does not mean that you have to say goodbye to your social life.
You might think that to maintain your sobriety you must become a hermit, but that is not the case. Although you might have to lose some friends who will hinder your recovery, you will make new ones who will support you in your journey.
Saying “no” to alcohol can be tough, especially if you are in the early stages of recovery, but one “no” could save your life.
Here are 5 tips on how to say “no”:
1. Be the Designated Driver
Whether it is a party or after-work drinks, at one point or another you might want to socialize with friends who are drinking. A great way to spend time with friends and stay sober is by volunteering to be the designated driver. Being the designated driver is a big responsibility because you are not just in charge of your safety but that of everyone in your group. Rarely does anyone volunteer to be the designated driver, so if you do, not only will you have a great excuse for not drinking but your friends will thank you for taking one for the team. And because they know you are driving them home, they will make sure you do not drink.
2. Try Mocktails
The idea of ordering a Shirley Temple at a bar might sound ridiculous, but colorful fruity drinks are not the only options for non-alcoholic drinks. Almost any bartender can create a tasty non-alcoholic drink that does not look like it belongs to a 13-year-old girl. If you are at outdoor event, make yourself a drink using juice and seltzer. Not only do you get to participate in the fun, but people will assume that your drink is alcoholic and will not pressure you to drink. You can find some fun non-alcoholic drink recipes here.
3. Stay Connected
Whether it is the sun’s rays or being pool-side, the temptation to drink is higher during warmer months, so it is important particularly important to stay connected to your support group during this time. Not only is it helpful to talk with people who are experiencing the same things but a lot of groups plan fun sober activities. This is a great way to have fun without feeling pressured to break your sobriety.
4. Think Outside of the Box
What if all your friends want to do is sit by the pool sipping on rosé, or watch the game and drink beer? Suggest something completely different that no one has tried before. Think about fun active things to do with friends where drinking is not an option, such as hiking, rock-climbing, or paintballing. And if sports are not your forte, try going to a play, a pottery class, or even one of those escape room challenges. Believe it or not, there are a lot of fun things to do that do not involve drinking.
5. Say No
There will be times when you will have to pass on attending an event because you know the temptation to drink will be too much, and that is ok. Some days are better than others, and if you feel like something might risk your sobriety it is ok to say no. Avoid feeling like you are missing out by calling your best friend or maybe a family member and inviting them over. Make some comfort food, or treat yourself to some take out and watch your favorite movie, play games, or just chat. A night in can be just as fun as a night out.