First, have a plan. Whenever possible, go to the celebrations with another sober person. If you will be going to a family party, make sure that you tell the host not to serve you any alcohol and to provide a substitute non-alcoholic drink. Of course, the same thing goes for any drugs. Tell the host or others that you are sober and that you want nothing to do with any alcohol or drugs.
Plan on how long you will be at the party. Let the host know in advance, that if you begin to feel uncomfortable, that you might leave early. Pray before, during and after the event. It could be risky to go out to a bar or additional party, because that is when the real drinking or drug use usually occurs. Use common sense, and do not put yourself in any risky situations. One night is not worth a relapse that could lead to big trouble.
If you are very new to sobriety, you should follow all of these suggestions and then also set up a reward at the end of the evening, for staying sober. For example you might take a walk or a bike ride, or have a special desert like chocolate or ice cream or both. Tickets to a movie with a friend. Use as a reward, whatever motivates you in a healthy way. Sometimes in the beginning of our sobriety, we have to condition our minds and train ourselves by using positive reinforcement.
Staying sober is the most important thing that we must do, because it determines the course of our lives. Literally, our choice is to live or to die.
A few words of caution. Some friends or family members will not respect your choice not to drink. In fact, they may go out of their way to hassle you about not drinking, and they may try to embarrass you into drinking with them. They care nothing for your life or your sobriety and they are only being selfish. When you stop drinking, it can put the spotlight on them and their drinking, so they may feel jealous or threatened by you. If they can get you to start drinking again, then it takes the heat off of them. Make sure that you look out for number one– you.
Then there are those who are evil, and want to see you fail and drink or use drugs again. These are the dangerous ones. They will put drugs or alcohol in your face and then challenge you to use. You must take a stand by leaving immediately, so that they can no longer tempt you. Better yet, never go there to begin with! We can claim the power of Jesus Christ and tell them, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I tell you, NO!” You will see them back off.
In sobriety, we must learn to love ourselves and we must learn how to take a stand. However, never try to stay sober all by yourself. There is great danger in isolation. We addicts need each other in order to get and stay sober. We need sober people around us, to help us take a stand and to resist temptation. Remember, the disease of addiction and the Devil himself, will always try to get you isolated and away from sober friends and family members, so he can continue to destroy you. Build an army of sober friends on speed dial, and love yourself by depending upon them.
Sometimes, our family situations are so bad or a prospective party is so dangerous to our sobriety, that we must make the decision not to go. Call some sober friends, or go to a recovery meeting and surround yourself with people who really care about you. Someone once said that, “Recovery is easy, all you have to do is change your whole life!”
Yes, we all need to change our environments, our friends, our old routines, what we spend our money on and where we spend our time. For example, it would foolish and reckless for someone coming out of treatment, to return to their old using neighborhood, their old using friends and their old hang outs in the neighborhood. Their chances of using chemicals again would be very high. I know that my old using friends did not truly care about me, because their first priority was getting their next high.
The other great and powerful thing to do, is to go out and help another addict. You will be able to get out of yourself and you will feel good. Taking our focus off of ourselves and onto helping another person, is very, very powerful, and it will keep us sober! When we put ourselves in a safe and healthy environment, and we surround ourselves with people who are in recovery, and when we go to recovery meetings and pray everyday, we stay sober.