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Keeping Sober – Even When Peers Aren't

Maintaining sobriety is a difficult task. Embracing the strategies established throughout recovery is filled with hurdles. Each individual will have to analyze their social outlets and stressors in order to maintain their sobriety.

However, one's closest friends and supports may not have made the same dedication to sobriety, and may still engage with alcohol on an occasional basis. This does not mean that these supports cannot be effective in their roles or understanding and supportive in their position. Although, it does mean that one may have to decide how they will maintain their sobriety even when peers are not doing the same.

Navigating social events where alcohol may be present, such as a traditional Super Bowl party, is an important skill to develop. There are ways for a person to continue protecting and championing their sobriety despite the actions of peers.

Keep Mentally and Physically Busy

Keeping busy is the best way to avoid difficult situations. Attending functions where alcohol may be present is a difficult scenario, and urges and cravings may be present. From large weddings to small, intimate gatherings with friends, the presence of alcohol can cause a great amount of stress. Keeping busy with tasks and responsibilities is instrumental in keeping one's mind off of these substances, while keeping physically busy can ensure an individual always has a task at hand.

Helping with cleaning duties or engaging with sober friends can continue to provide an individual with direction and keep their body and mind occupied and away from the prospect of alcohol. If an individual is hosting their own gatherings, they can also help to moderate games, movies, or any other activities, further adding a degree of purpose and direction to one's time.

Keep an Escape Plan in Mind

Regardless of how confident an individual feels in their abilities to manage their sobriety in high-risk settings, there is never a way to know exactly how they will react in the moment. Having a ready-made escape plan is essential to remove oneself from these scenarios, should it be needed.

Additionally, if an individual has trusted supports ready by the phone to come pick them up or keep their vehicle ready they can remove themselves from dangerous situations. Not only can this continue to help an individual prioritize their hard-earned sobriety, but this feeling of a safety net also promotes a better sense of security. It can help to alleviate excess feelings of stress or anxiety that may otherwise be detrimental to one's health.

Set Expectations Upfront

If invited to a function where alcohol may be present, it is important to set expectations upfront. This means a person must discuss with their peers that they do not intend to drink during the night or throughout the festivities. While one's close friends and supports may be aware of their decision to maintain sobriety, others may still inquire. In these cases, responding with, “I've got an early morning tomorrow,” “I'm driving tonight,” or any other such nondescript excuses should suffice.

By setting these expectations ahead of time, an individual can get ahead of any uncomfortable questions during the event itself, helping to avoid being directly offered a drink in these scenarios. This effectively takes the stress out of the social component of these events. It also ensures that an individual can put more of their time and energy into the parts of the event that they want to focus on.

Keep a Drink in Hand

Another way for an individual to avoid being offered alcohol is to already be holding a drink in their hand. Keeping a virgin drink, or just a soda, in hand can quell any such questions and help avoid being offered alcoholic beverages.

Even while an individual may have learned to turn down drinks, there can still be a great amount of stress that comes with the question. Being offered a drink directly can birth many unwanted urges and cravings to reengage. By keeping one's hands full with a beverage already, these questions can be less impactful.

Go With a Sober Ally

Even if one's friends and peers have not made the same sober decision, attending these parties with a support who has agreed to remain sober for the night can provide a fantastic sense of support and safety. Not only can they act as an additional set of eyes to analyze the potential stressors of the event, but they are also available to help navigate any potentially destructive, feelings that may come up.

Keeping close and constantly communicating with these supports throughout the night can help a person be more mindful of how they are coping, as well as provide a place to confide or enact established escape strategies, if necessary.


Maintaining your sobriety is a life-long task, and it is important to keep one's own sober goals and priorities focused, even when peers don't share in your sober practices. At Chateau Recovery, located in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains of Midway, Utah, we understand the need to continue practicing your hard-earned sobriety even when peers aren't.

We are prepared to work closely with you to help you establish your own best practices for managing your sober focus inside and outside the walls of our facility. Professionals are available to customize and individualize a recovery plan that is right for you. Individual and group therapy, backed by a supportive, intimate atmosphere and a plethora of proven recovery strategies such as art, music, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, nutritional guidance, and much more are all available to you.

For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member today at (435) 222-5225.

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