It is a moment every one of us in early sobriety dreads: getting invited for after-work drinks by clients or co-workers. Not only is this typically a risky environment for us, it also has the potential to lead to highly uncomfortable questions for us about our drinking (or lack thereof).
Despite the difficulty, this is a situation we must learn to face and get through. The reality is, alcohol does not just disappear simply because we are sober- and nor should we have to always hide from it.
Here we provide some coping mechanisms and strategies for getting through work functions in early sobriety.
Order non-alcoholic pub drinks
Most of us early on in recovery develop a preference for a non-alcoholic pub style drink to order when we are in situations such as work functions. These can include anything from virgin bloody mary, cranberry/lime/soda, ginger beers, and countless other options.
This is a great strategy for avoiding awkward questions we don’t want to answer, such as “why are you not drinking”. Being sure we have a drink to sip on can also prevent cravings from popping up.
Have an excuse ready
It is always smart to have an excuse ready if someone questions why we are not drinking alcohol and we do not wish to tell him or her we are in sobriety. These can include anything from needing to work early the next day, being on a medication that it will interfere with, or just simply that you do not feel up for drinking that particular night.
While we typically dread this conversation, the reality is that most people simply do not care about other people’s drinking habits as much as we might think.
Have an exit strategy
No matter what stage of sobriety you are in; it is a good idea to have an early exit strategy in place for situations like work functions. Often times as the night progresses, our peers may begin to get more and more intoxicated, at which point we will choose to use our exit strategy.
Usually, by this point any business that needed to be discussed will be over with and our absence likely will not have any significant impact.
Talk to your support group
As with any risky or difficult situation in early sobriety, it is crucial to reach out to your support group beforehand and during if need be. They will often have experiences in similar situations we face that they can relay to us.
And if in the moment we need to take a time out from the party, calling our support group can often bring our heads back into the goal of making it through the function.
Know your limits
Sometimes the best strategy is to simply not go if we are not ready. While work functions and after-work meet-ups can unquestionably be important sometimes for work, we must always remember that nothing is more important than our sobriety.
Therefore, if we are not ready yet to attend a risky situation, or are not feeling particularly grounded that day, sometimes our best option is to know our limits and skip the work function.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.
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