How to Navigate Social Work Events and Stay Sober

people networking represent How to Navigate Social Work Events and Stay Sober

Unfortunately, alcohol is part of the work culture for many professionals – but being at social events or around co-workers who are drinking isn’t always the safest place to be when you’re trying to stay sober.

Your first step is always to ask yourself: “Should I even attend the event?” The answer will depend on the stage of your recovery as well as what’s going on in your life and at work at that time. Depending on where you are in your recovery, you may have confided in your boss and co-workers about your recovery. Still, some people may be more understanding and supportive than others.

As a working professional in recovery, knowing how to socialize without alcohol is an important coping tool. Here are a few steps to help you stay focused on your recovery and protect yourself from relapse: 

1. Remind yourself that it’s OK to turndown certain company events that could trigger the urge to pick up a drink.

2. Make sure your sponsor or other sober friends are a text or phone call away. Sometimes just talking to someone who understands is all you’ll need to get your mind off of the cravings.

3. Go to a meeting before the event. You’ll get some extra support, motivation and real-life tips for socializing with alcohol.

4. Figure out how to handle the fact that you’re not drinking. For example, you may consider the following:

  • You can simply turn down a drink without giving an explanation.
  • You can order a non-alcoholic beverage that could pass as booze (like club soda with juice and a lime, for instance).
  • You can turn down the drink and give a short explanation or excuse: “I feel a lot healthier not drinking” or  “I’m taking medication.”

5. Have an exit plan or excuse ready if you feel uncomfortable and need to remove yourself from the situation or leave early.

Working After Rehab
Our substance abuse program for professionals is designed to support and help professionals return to the workplace after rehab with the skills needed to stay sober. To learn more about our programs for professionals, call today: (866) 247-3307.

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