Staying sober at a wedding when you are in recovery from addiction takes focus and determination, but most of all it takes strategic planning. By thinking ahead, it’s possible to celebrate with friends and family without putting recovery in jeopardy.

Partying Sober

Any celebration or party presents a temptation to someone in recovery. But you can’t RSVP “no” to your best friend’s wedding. You can’t duck out of the bridal party you’ve agreed to be in. You’re torn between making the right choice to maintain a relationship and making the healthy choice to maintain your sobriety. It is possible for the two to co-exist.

1. Attend a meeting.

Before the big event, reach out for encouragement from a counselor or therapist or attend a support group meeting. Share your concerns and be open to suggestions from others about how to make it through the wedding sober.

2. Take a sober friend.

Make sure you have a sober plus-one by your side to keep you distracted and occupied at the wedding. When you have someone to accompany you and talk to you throughout the night, you won’t be tempted to turn to a drink to fill the silence or deliver liquid courage. You can hold each other accountable and entertain each other, especially if many of the other guests start to drink too much.

3. Keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand.

If you know you’ll feel self-conscious about not drinking, order a non-alcoholic beverage and keep it refreshed and in your hand throughout the evening. You’re also less likely to be offered another drink when you are already holding one. People will already assume you’re drinking, and that’s fine to let them think so if you know you’re sober and are doing a fine job of staying that way.

4. Have an exit strategy.

You don’t have to party at the wedding reception until the last person leaves. Set a time limit for yourself and depart earlier rather than later so you can avoid temptations that might become stronger as the event goes on. Most weddings involve plenty of drinking and by the end of the revelry, there will be plenty of intoxicated guests. When you don’t want to be one of them, it’s easier to avoid them entirely with an early exit.

5. Be honest.

If someone offers you a drink during the event, whether it’s a champagne toast or wine with dinner, be honest and say you’re not drinking. Have the servers take away the wine glasses at your place setting. Look out for yourself and don’t be cowed by eager, drunk, old friends who keep telling you to “Drink up!” or “Have a drink!” Practice saying, “I’m not drinking tonight” or “I’m sober,” whichever you’re more comfortable with, and say it as many times as necessary.

6. Plan ahead.

The best way for someone in recovery to approach a wedding is to plan ahead. Think about every temptation that can arise and see yourself handling it successfully. Envision yourself not drinking and still having a good time. It’s also important to envision yourself saying yes to that alcoholic beverage and what the fallout would be, from drinking too much to embarrassing yourself, from blacking out to how you’ll feel the next day.

Staying sober is a daily challenge, and it can feel like a non-stop mountain to climb at social events where alcohol is plentiful. It is possible to have fun without alcohol or drugs, to successfully be in recovery from addiction and maintain that sobriety.  

Learn more about the holistic treatments at Beachside Rehab by contacting our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770.

Photo by Tristan Gassert on Unsplash