Overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol demands that you restructure the manner in which you live. You must change the way you view yourself and others if you want to stay sober.
It is understandable then that you might hesitate to make the social rounds once you finish your rehabilitation program. You can look forward to socializing without compromising your sobriety by keeping these important strategies in mind.
Change Your Associations
This tip may seem obvious, however, it goes without saying that you must rethink with whom you associate after you get out of rehab. If you go back to hanging out with old friends and relatives who accepted and even encouraged your addiction, chances are you will find yourself on a path to relapsing.
Instead, you must find new friends or start hanging out with people who support your efforts to stay sober. One way to develop new sober friendships is to move into a sober living home. Sober living homes support your sobriety and recovery journey in every aspect of day to day life. By making new friends and expanding your social circle to include supportive and empathetic associates, you can maintain your sobriety and enjoy being in a social setting.
Believe in Yourself
You also must believe that you have what it takes to be social without succumbing to former behaviors. When you go through rehabilitation, you should learn how to think of yourself in a more positive light so that you avoid the mental and emotional pitfalls that once lead to your drug or alcohol use.
As such, it is vital that you maintain that level of self-assurance when you head back out into the social circles. You must acknowledge that while you were once mentally and emotionally weak, you are now strong enough to be around others without having to take a drink or use drugs. You can resist the temptation and say no by believing that you are worthy and that you are more valuable as a friend sober than high or drunk.
Keep in Contact
When you get out of rehab, you may be enrolled in an outpatient care program so that you can maintain your sobriety. It is essential that you take advantage of this program and use it to keep in contact with your medical team that guided you to sobriety. Many programs make this level of contact available to program members 24 hours a day.
Checking with your doctors, nurses, therapists, and spiritual advisers can help bolster your confidence and help keep you on a steady path toward a brighter and healthier future. You should also keep these individuals’ contact information on hand if you feel tempted to use again while you are out with friends.
Attend Support Groups
Along with staying in contact with your outpatient support network, you should also enroll in and attend a support group for recovering alcoholics or drug addicts. These groups typically meet once or twice a week. They are free to join and have no requirements other than a desire for people to show up and join in the discussions.
Attending the sessions gives you the chance to share your own stories and struggles while listening to the stories of addicts like you. These meetings give you a measure of accountability that you need if you want to relearn how to become social again without losing your sobriety. You are free to attend the sessions for as long as you feel that you need this level of support.
Find a Mentor
Another important tip that you can use when balancing sobriety and socializing involves gaining a mentor. Many organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous use a mentoring system. This system involves new members being sponsored by established members of the group.
The sponsors hold the newer members accountable for their actions. New members can call or meet with sponsors when they feel tempted to use or unsure of themselves. The sponsors can also help new members get back on track if they relapse and take a drink or use drugs.
Sponsors also award the people whom they mentor with coins when they reach anniversaries of their sobriety. These programs typically give coins for people who reach the one-year, five-year, and subsequent year anniversaries of being sober.
Make an Effort
Finally, you must make an effort to get back out there and become social again. If you are sincere in your desire to find and make new friends and enjoy activities like dancing, going to the movies, and just being around others in general, you have to put the effort into it.
It is easy for addicts to feel sorry for themselves or prefer to stay alone at home by themselves rather than go out. They may still feel like they are not worth anything or that people will suspect that they once were a drug addict or alcoholic.
No one can promise that your first foray into the social setting will be easy or even enjoyable. You may feel self-conscious and embarrassed. However, it is important that you recognize that you are making the effort and that you have what it takes to get through the day without drinking or using again.
The first success you have in a social setting should be a foundation that you can build on and become more confident in yourself. It all starts with you making an effort, however. You should resist the urge to stay home watching TV or sleeping if you really want to learn how to socialize while sober.
Many addicts wonder how they can strike the perfect balance between socializing and sobriety when they are newly discharged from a rehabilitation program. They wonder if they can ever go out with friends without being tempted to take a drink or use drugs.
In fact, you can learn how to be social again without compromising the hard work and goals that you achieved in your recovery program. By using these simple yet effective strategies, you can look forward to having a social life again. You can also look forward to a new, healthier, happier, and sober lifestyle.