5 Tips to Navigating Summer Parties Sober Without Losing Your Mind.
Happy almost summer!
It is that time of year when the kids are out of school, you go to pool parties, BBQ’s, and summer concerts. You name it and of course, summertime is when the parties happen. I personally think it is worse than the holiday season because it’s hot outside and everyone tends to hang out for longer periods of time in the evenings, which usually means cocktails, beer and wine of course.
It also means if you are newly sober, this can be a really stressful time for you. It doesn’t have to be though. If you prepare your mindset ahead of time, summer parties will be a breeze!
I can tell you that this is my first summer sober (no alcohol) and I am happy to report that I have embraced my sobriety and I am pretty comfortable in my own skin now. It has been almost 6 months for me and I am way too happy with MYSELF to even think about taking a drink and falling down that rabbit hole again. However, I really wanted to share my tips and tricks to staying strong and really embracing your sobriety or sober curiosity.
5 Tips to own your sobriety in social situations
Situation: I was recently at a Wine Women and Business networking event. The event was at a wine bar of all places. (My favorite drink of choice is Chardonnay all day!) I was there to meet new women and to make authentic connections with them. I walked in and I didn’t know a damn person there at first, so that was AWKWARD. Thank God I saw my friend Carol on the other side of the bar and I walked over and said Hi. She asked me “What do you want to drink?” I told her I wasn’t drinking and of course, I get an “I don’t know how you do that comment.” To the newly sober, this can be very off-putting and may put you on guard. Just to be clear, this did not bother me in the least because I have taught myself to feel confident about my decision to not drink. So no offense!
Tip Number 1:
If you know you are going to an event that is held in a bar type of environment, have a game plan. Anticipate what you think people may ask you. For example, “What do you want to drink?” “Why aren’t you drinking?”
That way when someone does ask you why you aren’t drinking you have an answer ready to go and that will usually be the end of the conversation. Most people are too busy thinking about themselves and not you. ( I don’t mean that in an offensive tone.)
Situation: I was recently invited to my niece’s graduation party. I was going to see my Dad and Stepmom for the first time in 2 years. We live in different states and we all work full time, so we don’t get to see each other often enough. Anyway, in the past it has always been a total wine fest for me when seeing my Dad and Pat (meaning it was a lot of fun!) I would definitely wake up the next day totally hungover after an evening out! I was curious to see if I was going to be triggered in any way to want to partake, and if I did want to partake, how would I react?
Tip Number 2:
Going into a situation like this when it involves family and past HABITS, it is so very important to go into this situation mentally prepared to know your triggers and how you are going to react to those triggers. One of my triggers is wanting to drink anything other than boring old water and I drink A LOT to calm my nervous energy.
Of course, my nervous energy stems from being in situations in the past that involved heavy drinking and now I no longer have that outlet, so for me, my solution was to come to the party with a Yeti cup full of flavored club soda. I also brought a couple of non-alcohol beers with me as well. These very simple things helped me with my mindset.
As long as I felt like I was drinking along with everyone else, I didn’t have the urge to take a drink and my anxiety went away (almost.)
Situation: You are at a party and everyone is drunk all around you and it’s starting to really get to you. I recently went to a bar where everyone had a good buzz on and I was the only one in my group that was stone cold sober. Did I get FOMO? (fear of missing out?)
Tip Number 3: All I EVER have to think about now is the hangover the next day if I partake. It is that simple for me. It can be for you too.
Seriously, how shitty is a hangover? There are so many things other than just the headache! It’s the guilt of drinking too much, not remembering part of the evening, the self-hatred because you broke your promise to yourself that you weren’t going to drink anymore……..
I want you to really get in the moment and think about how you really feel hungover, feel the guilt and the self-hatred. Then I want you to really FEEL the joy of your sense of accomplishment of sticking to your commitment of sobriety. It’s such a great feeling and it’s worth it.
Situation: You are at a party and you have had enough partying and just want to go home, but your significant other isn’t ready to go. You don’t want to feel like a party pooper and you will probably get shit from people for wanting to go home early.
Tip Number 4: This is a tough one friends. I was one of those people that would stay out late and talk shit about the people that would go home early. Yep, I was that person that called people “Lame” if they wanted to go home early. Karma is a bitch because now I am that“Lame”, person.
How do you deal with douche bags like me?? I mean this in a totally loving way by the way!
Do you know what I do? I communicate with my husband or my friend before-hand and come up with a game plan. For example, we may drive in together, but I let him or her know that I may want to go home a little earlier than them. We talk about options.
Option one: They agree to let me make that call and we go home together.
Option two: We go home separately. I drive home and they take an Uber or something.
Here is the key to this though. We can’t have an attitude towards each other if I want to go and they want to stay. Like anything else, it just takes a little planning beforehand.
Situation: Drunk people annoy the shit out of you now.
Tip Number 5: This is a legit feeling peeps. I now know why I would get some dirty ass looks at the bars! I get it now LOL. Ok, so now you have no tolerance for your friends and family being buzzed or drunk around you, but you can’t be a hermit for the rest of your life, so how do you overcome this?
This my friends is a trigger. I treat it as a trigger and look inside myself as to why it bothers me so much. Earlier in my sobriety, this was an issue. I realized that I wasn’t comfortable with MYSELF yet and I felt awkward and weird around my friends and family. As soon as people started getting buzzed around me, I would want to just go home.
I realized after reflecting, that I was just mourning the loss of my old lifestyle. Chardonnay was my toxic, but reliable friend. Chardonnay made me feel fun, social, and cool. Seeing my friends and family buzzed brought all those feelings to the surface. You need to make peace with this loss.
It is a legit feeling and you are allowed to mourn the loss of your witchy friend, but then make the DECISION to get over that shit.
Once you make peace with your sobriety you will find that it is totally fine to hang out with your drinking friends and family and if you really let yourself go, you will have a great time and be quite entertained by their shenanigans! I will also secretly laugh to myself that I will feel awesome the next day and they will be hungover as fuck.
We have a long summer season ahead and it will be much easier to handle all the parties and get-togethers by planning ahead. Go into every situation with a game plan and you will be surprised how awesome you handle these situations and guess what?
You will feel a sense of accomplishment and it will get you one step closer to really getting comfortable with this sobriety thing. I did. If you want to read my sober diaries, you can click right here: https://www.putonyourbig-girl-panties.com/being-a-sober-chick/
Until next time,
Join the conversation, become a Fix blogger. Share your experience, strength, and hope, or sound off on the issues affecting the addiction/recovery community. Create your account and start writing: https://www.thefix.com/add-community-content.