How to Remain Sober When You Can’t Avoid Exposure to Alcohol

According to a World Health Organization, Americans consume roughly 8.67 liters of pure alcohol per capita each year. One factor that contributes to consumption — and rates of abuse — is availability. In fact, data gathered by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reveals that the presence of a high number of licensed liquor establishments in an area

For many recovering alcoholics, the easiest way to avoid drinking is to steer clear of alcohol altogether. Unfortunately, this strategy is not foolproof. In American culture, alcohol is sold practically everywhere one can go, from grocery stores and gas stations to sporting arenas and restaurants. But that does not necessarily spell danger to people in recovery. To stay safe, all you need is an arsenal of tools and a recovery mindset. To learn more, read on.

Peer Pressure: The Problem, The Solution

Staying abstinent is challenging when you live in an alcohol-saturated culture, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

One problem with being around alcohol and people who drink heavily is that it normalizes problematic drug use. It can also discourage you from believing that sober living is possible. Most dangerous of all, coming in contact with people, places and things that you associate with drug use can trigger cravings. This situation becomes all the more perilous when it also puts you in dangerous proximity to your drink of choice.

The solution to this dilemma is surrounding yourself with sober friends. Just as removing chemicals from the body is a critical first step toward getting clean, detoxing from harmful relationships by cultivating healthy friendships is a prime step that prevents relapse. Joining a 12-Step support group is an easy way to accomplish this task. Experts at the Mayo Clinic say that membership yields benefits that include the following:

  • Connection with others
  • Freedom from stigmatization
  • Empowerment
  • Improving coping skills
  • Better emotional adjustment
  • Reduced anxiety, distress and depression

These 12-Step meetings offer a place where you can share negative feelings — a proven way to reduce depression and anxiety. Connecting with other people who share your recovery goals also increases your opportunities to gain practical insights, learn from other people’s experiences and mistakes, and maintain your motivation.

More Practical Helps

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, individuals who understand recovery strategies — and put them into action rigorously — relapse less frequently and after longer periods of abstinence. Psychology Today blogger Seth Meyers. As long as that person provides accountability and encourages you to communicate honestly and thoroughly, the relationship can strengthen your sobriety.

  • Have an escape plan by bringing your vehicle or figure out the available public transportation near the event
  • Ask another sober alcoholic to be “on call” for you by phone or text
  • Keep non-alcoholic beverages in your hand at all times to prevent people from offering you wine or beer
  • Rehearse a standard response to use when you are offered alcohol, such as a simple, “None for me, thank you.”

It is also important to choose your social and recreational activities wisely. This is a highly emphasized goal at professional treatment centers, where recovery experts help individuals consider ways to pursue activities that do not involve drinking. They also strongly suggest being proactive about structuring free time. It is especially important to plan well over the weekends when boredom can strike, making you restless to return to your old crowd. Finally, remember to enjoy

Help for Alcohol Abuse

If you or a loved one suffers from alcohol abuse or shows signs of a possible addiction, we can help. Admissions coordinators are available at our toll-free, 24-hour support line to guide you to wellness. They can provide information and resources to help you evaluate your options and make the best decision for your health. Please call today.

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