Words of Advice for Attending Social Events While in Recovery

Published 02/04/2019

Summer is a time for graduations, weddings, barbecues, and parties. For people in recovery, attending these types of social occasions can be a challenge. What advice would you give to someone who is faced with this situation?

"I would remind them to be aware; to be aware of how they feel, to remember to look for their triggers, and to practice coping skills when necessary." - Danielle G., Pennsylvania

"Remember, you can say "no" during these busy summer months. It's easy to overbook yourself and find yourself feeling run down and "burned out." Choose carefully the events that you will truly enjoy." - Lori C., Rhode Island

"If you decide to go, leave early. Do not stay before the more serious drinking happens, and people are the most intoxicated. And, if you do decide to go, look for people who are not drinking. There will be people there that do not drink, strike up a conversation with them." - Jennifer L., Massachusetts

"... Be accompanied by the following: 1. An exit plan, 2. Someone you trust who has only your best intentions in mind." - Brandon R., North Carolina

"Communicate your fears and concerns if you are comfortable doing so with those hosting the event, and be sure to either bring along your own or ask your host to provide non-alcoholic beverages. Journaling your thoughts and concerns is another great way to process the complicated feelings that arise in difficult situations." - Julie G., Massachusetts

“Not to hang around the alcohol table or with individuals who are drinking. Try to mingle with guests so you’re not focusing on others drinking.” – Shelley S., Delaware

“If someone is still new to their recovery it would be recommended that they avoid a social gathering that would involve any type of substance that may be a trigger for relapse… It may also be helpful to attend an AA/NA meeting before/after the party. Relapse prevention is crucial.” – Jennifer A., Massachusetts

“…This should be a time in which the person asks for support from family members, friends, and sponsors.” – Tanna R., North Carolina

“Attend the event with someone who will encourage you and help you to have fun, but also watch to keep you accountable.” – Lisa H., Rhode Island

“If I knew there would be alcohol or other substance use at the function, I would decline attendance. If I were a few years into my recovery, I would probably attend if I believed that alcohol would be minimal and no drugs present.” – Angel L., Delaware

“These activities are supposed to be joyous and happy so have fun. Use your coping skills if you run into some difficulties.” – Gerald E., Virginia

“Although summer is filled with events such as cookouts, parties, and graduations, it doesn’t mean you have to stop yourself from being social. Socializing can actually be a positive thing. It’s good to seek new friends who are strong in their recovery or people who don’t have a substance use issue.” – Michael S., Massachusetts

 Next Month:
FHR's "must watch" movie list in which a character deals with a mental illness or addiction 

The information listed above are the thoughts of individuals and does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of FHR.