If you just completed alcohol addiction treatment, you may be trying to figure out how to have a social life without drinking. Alcohol may have been at the center of your world – you might be faced with having friends who drink, your hang-outs may have been bars, and you might have frequented clubs or parties. If this is the case, don’t worry…even those who have not made alcohol central to their social life find that simply having dinner out almost always includes a lengthy wine list. So the question remains: How do you take alcohol out of your social life and still have fun?

Eliminating alcohol from social activities is not always easy. As the Social Issues Research Center points out, alcohol is a cultural institution worldwide. However, in order to maintain addiction recovery, many people decide to permanently stay away from social scenes that are centered on alcohol. On the flip side, others can be in a bar or club, or at a party where alcohol is being served, and not even want to take a drink. Either way, enjoying a social life without the aid of what may have been your favorite social lubricant is possible. Here are some suggestions:

Long-Term Addiction Recovery May Involve New Social Activities

  • Alert friends and family when you are going to a place where alcohol may be served. Ask them to hold you accountable when you return.
  • To maintain addiction recovery, find a drink you really like that can be substituted for your favorite alcoholic beverage. “Virgin” drinks or “mocktails” might be a good choice, but beware of the tendency for these drinks to trigger cravings. If you like sweet drinks, have the bartender add grenadine to your favorite soda. Sparkling mineral water with a twist of lemon or lime can also be satisfying.
  • Examine your social circle. Do they support your addiction recovery? Are they all heavy drinkers? If they are, it could be time to rethink the amount of time you spend with them.
  • Google “Alcohol Free Meet-Ups” and find other people who want to have fun without alcohol.
  • Create your own alcohol-free social scenes. Throw parties at your house, plan a camping trip with sober friends, or co-host a poolside barbecue—you could become the sober social director amongst your drinking and non-drinking friends!

Alcohol addiction treatment is no easy thing. To maintain your addiction recovery once you complete rehab, take your social life seriously. Have fun but do it in a way that fully supports your sobriety.

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