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Making and maintaining the commitment to living a life free of alcohol can be challenging. Parties, social events and even dinners with friends and family can offer temptations to disregard your decision to stay sober. Pressure for one glass of wine or one beer can be overwhelming, particularly when those around you are drinking, sometimes with reckless abandon.
Removing alcohol from your life can be a challenge when it is easily accessible at corner stores, grocers and even openly placed beside your plate at dinner. However, there are some tips and tricks you can use to honor your personal decision and commitment to maintaining a sober lifestyle.
Consider the reason you want to drink
Are those around you drinking and seeming to have the time of their lives? Are you attempting to bury some negative thoughts or feelings? Do you just feel the need to be included? In many cases, understanding the primary reasons you desire to drink can help you to understand the motivations behind your desires. The first step in any recovery program is to being by understanding the reasons that you turned to alcohol in the first place. By identifying these reasons, you can begin to deal with those issues individually and avoid allowing the temptation to drink to overcome you.
Prep yourself for pressure
Many times, when a person decides not to drink, those around them may not understand their decision, especially if the person has never had a problem with alcohol in the past. Your friends and family may not understand your choice to live an alcohol-free life. They may pressure you to have a drink, tease you about your decision or even stop inviting you to social gatherings. It is important that you prepare yourself for the reactions and lack of understanding that you may receive from those around you. Be ready to say no and stand by your decision, even when it may jeopardize the relationships you have with others.
Create a list of the reasons you do not wish to drink
For a lot of individuals, having a list of reminders helps them to achieve goals they have set for themselves. The same is true for those who are striving to lead a life without drinking. Think about the reasons you have made the decision and make a list. Are you doing this to be healthier? Is your motivation to not drink a result of a spiritual or philosophical reason? Do you find when you were drinking that you couldn’t remember the night before or words you may have said? Making a list of the reasons you have decided not to drink can give you a source of reinforcement when you are in social situations where the alcohol is free flowing.
Offer to be the designated driver
Everyone knows that it is both dangerous and illegal to drink and drive. Many times, in social situations, everyone attending is intent on drinking and may not plan ahead for a designated driver. While car services and taxis are available in many areas, they may be expensive or may not provide accommodations for everyone attending the event. By volunteering to be the designated driver, you can enjoy social events knowing that your friends and family will have a safe and sober form of transportations. Your decision to be alcohol-free can very well be the single factor in a loved one being harmed in a car accident as a result of drunk driving.
Prepare alternative answers to offered drinks
As you enjoy social situations, it is almost guaranteed that you will be offered a drink or several. For many people living with the same lifestyle, having a selection of alternative answers to offered drinks helps them to avoid being tempted. When offered a drink, you can simply provide a response such as “I have to get up early in the morning” or “Sorry, but my diet dictates I don’t drink my calories” to those friendly offers for alcohol consumption.
Reward yourself for staying sober
Much like the idea of rewarding yourself for hitting a milestone in your diet plan, rewarding yourself for staying sober can be a great way to instill positive reinforcement for your commitment. In deciding not to drink, you will be saving money that would have been spent on beer, wine or liquor. When you have made it through a few social situations without alcohol, use this money to buy yourself a treat, such as a new outfit or gym membership.
Find alternative activities to enjoy
Alcohol can consume more than just your money and your health, it can also consume your time. In some cases, it takes entire evenings or days and limits your ability to enjoy other activities. Finding a new hobby or activity that will replace the time you spend drinking is a great way to distract yourself and take your mind off of drinking. Suggest activities where alcohol is not served for social gatherings, such as paintball, a painting course or even a movie or bowling alley where alcohol is not offered. This will give you and your friends the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company without introducing alcohol into the equation.
Find or create a support group
It can be challenging to maintain a sober life if everyone you know drinks. There are a variety of meetings and support groups readily available to provide you with a place to discuss your temptations and challenges that you experience. These individuals will often have stories of their own experiences and difficulties in maintaining sobriety. You can also find friends who have chosen to be sober without having a need for recovery. These individuals may be a good source of support for you as you maintain your journey in the sober life, as they will not pressure you to go against your decision.
Maintaining the decision to stay sober can be challenging. It can be a decision that affects many areas of your life, both in good ways and sometimes in not so great ways. It may be difficult to maintain the same social circle you once had. But rest assured that your decision to live without alcohol is an important one and with commitment and dedication, it is one that you can achieve.
If you are looking for help you can call +1-855-544-0489 (24/7 Nation-wide) or visit addictivecare.org. Remember, the sooner you start your path to recovery the more of your life you will gain back.