Deciding to go out during your recovery process is entirely dependent on how much progress you have made. Forbes has reported that more and more millennials are choosing to go out sober for a healthier way to live. While it is not encouraged to isolate yourself from all forms of social activity, discretion should be used when going to bars or clubs. It is not suggested that newly sober individuals pursue this activity, but in the case you do, here are a few tips and suggestions on how to enjoy nightlife without substances.
The first recommendation is to know your triggers when you go out. Going out in large groups can be known to induce drinking because of anxiety, so start by going out in groups of four or smaller. It is not worth it to risk having a drink in order to “loosen up”, and a night of having fun is never worth endangering your sobriety. The second tip is to avoid places where you used to use or drink frequently. While it might seem like a good idea in the moment, old locations are known to cause feelings of nostalgia or pressure to use. If the temptation is an old friend group and not a destination, be sure to evaluate whether spending time with these friends has more depth than just substance abuse.
Another important reminder if you choose to go out is to have a steadfast plan of action. You need to be able to have a backup plan should things get difficult. Prior to going out, visualize the worst-case scenarios you could encounter and create contingency plans for them. That way, should things become dangerous to your sobriety, you can avoid them or be able to escape. An example of this would be someone bringing a bottle of pills or lighting a joint, which can signal to you that you must leave. If you believe there is too much temptation going alone, consider bringing a sober friend that can act as a compass. If worse comes to worse, they can help guide you out of a potentially destructive situation. A final consideration before you enjoy hitting the strip post-recovery is an assessment of your emotional state.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, you are more likely to seek out social companionship during times of boredom or sadness. These feelings also make relapse more likely, so you must make sure your intrinsic reasoning for going out do not stem from a place of self-resentment or dejection. At times like these, opting to go to a group support session would be much more beneficial than going to a bar. Even if your intentions are stemming from a good place, the emotional vulnerability could position you for a potential relapse. In order to assess this situation, you must be brutally honest. Are you going out to find a human connection or to escape?
By no means should you reject any invitations of going out or spending time with friends. Here at Asana Recovery, we encourage all of our patients to value and respect their sobriety through our various treatment plans. But careful consideration of your motives, and setting up possible contingency plans, means that you are going out responsibly. Your recovery is of utmost importance, and therefore, so should your preparation before socializing. If you are looking to begin your path of recovery, call us today at (949) 438-4504.