According to a government study, 10% of alcoholics are in need of treatment. Of the 100% of alcoholics in need of treatment, only 13% actually caught on. Less than half of those seeking treatment in rehab programs get and remain sober. 95% leave rehab in the first year. The government graph shows that for every dollar spent on rehab, twelve dollars is saved. Many will ask, if rehab doesn’t work, what works? Successful recovering alcoholics will report that they had an epiphany showing them what they truly looked like, faced themselves head-on, and successfully kicked the addiction to the curb. How did they do it?
1. Set an Intention
The National Institutes of Health performed a study to assess the success rate of those who set an intention to stay sober when hanging out with friends. The study called it motivation, but the gist of the report is that more success, when attending rehab and when staying sober on one’s own, is enjoyed when alcoholics set an intention. There are a few ways this can be done, such as:
- Write a letter to the addiction. Explain in the letter why the person got this way, the recognition of this reason, and the intention to kick it to the curb. List the ways and methods of staying sober when hanging out with friends. Take the letter wherever the person goes.
- Visualize a sober life. See it, believe it, and be it. The person has earned it, deserves it, and has worked hard for it. It is okay to enjoy it.
- Recognize that s/he is not alone. Meditate. Hang out with people like them. Support is a strong part of setting an intention and sticking to it.
2. Party Without Booze
63% of drinking is in social situations. Avoiding drinking for the recovering alcoholic when hanging out with friends is difficult, but there are ways to strengthen the resolve. Some professionals make these suggestions :
- Arrive at the party and hold a glass of Coke or another alcohol-free beverage of your choice, but keep it full so no one offers a drink.
- Appoint oneself the designated driver. This gives you the best accuse for not touching the booze.
- Practice out-of-the-box ways of saying no: “I have to be up early tomorrow,” “It makes me walk funny,” or “I use alcohol to remove stains from the carpet. You want me to drink stain solvent?”
3. Create Fun That is Outside Parties
Parties aren’t the only way to have fun. Gatherings of people enjoying the same things we do fosters friendships, allows us to influence other people, and gives an opportunity to practice hobbies and master new challenges. Try these:
- Go out to eat with friends. With the money saved from drinking, trying a new cuisine or enjoying dinner with friends means socializing in a happier, more sober way.
- Volunteer for a worthy cause. Helping someone outside the bounds of an addiction gives people a chance to strengthen not only their resolve, but someone else’s as well.
- Compete. There are many 5K walks and runs to benefit charity, competitions involving hobbies, and town baseball games. One may travel and make new friends.
- Check out music and sporting events. Grab a visor and attend a football game in town or at the local high school or college. Go to a concert or three.
- Invite a friend or a group of friends out to a movie. See the latest film and enjoy a night of laughter and popcorn.
- Plan a trip. Ask your friends to go on a camping trip or out to the lake. Be sure to let them know in advance that it will be an alcohol-free event.
- Find a common interest hobby. Whether its video games or painting, try to find a hobby that does not involve alcohol that you and your friends all like.
All of these methods will allow you to have fun and enjoy the company of your friends, while not putting you into an environment that is not conductive to your recovery. Finding the methods that work best for you and your group of friends is the key to enjoying sobriety and hanging out with your friends.
Learning approaches that allow you to stay sober will have great benefits for a person’s future. While drinking in moderation usually does not have any adverse effects, binge drinking can cause serious and life-threatening consequences. Those recovering from addiction may find it difficult to hang out with the same friends, because they may enjoy the lifestyle the addict is trying to recover from being in. If a recovering addict is finding that the environments that involve alcohol are making remaining sober too difficult and their friends are unwilling to hang out in an alternative, he or she may need to think about finding a new group of friends that is supportive and enjoys hanging out in environments that are not focused around alcohol or drugs.
A recovering addict’s true friends should understand the obstacles their friend faces on a day-to-day basis. While meeting new friends is easier said than done, there are resources such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings where you can meet individuals going through the same struggles.
Avoiding Alcohol Addiction
Avoiding relapsing back to living a life suffering from an addiction to alcohol should be the main goal of any recovering addict. An addiction to alcohol will completely consume a person’s life, as alcohol becomes their only source of happiness and pleasure. Alcoholics will lose relationships, experience legal and financial hardships, and suffer from severe health effects, such as high blood pressure, stroke, increase risk of certain types of cancers, and damages to the heart, liver, and pancreas. Alcohol abuse can also weaken an addict’s immune system, thus making him or her more susceptible to contracting diseases.
There are plenty of methods of enjoying sobriety while hanging out with friends. They are meaningful, personal and in the end, foster success.