When men think about bonding, they have different rituals. One of them that seems to be very popular is to drink together, whether it is eating food or just imbibing drinks. Men actually have been shown to drink more when they are together than apart. Booze is a sort of social lubricant for men, making them more sensitive to social behaviors. It frees them to connect with others in a way that drinking soda pop cannot. This is the social construct that has been developed, which makes it hard to give up drinking when addiction takes hold (among other reasons). Breaking up with this habit can be hard if this is how friends socialize, even if they are not addicted. Consider these tips if you are looking for alternative ways to navigate this challenge with friends in sobriety.
Social Drinking Behavior
Many men think that the majority of social support and bonding time happens within the context of drinking with buddies. Exploring the possibility that social alcohol consumption was more rewarding to men remains to be seen. Men are all different, but culturally, there is a social bond with alcohol that is hard to break. Alcohol might make it easier to integrate into the social fabric of life, but it may also make it more difficult to make friends when that bond is broken by addiction. Socially speaking, when people are sober, they stop hanging out with friends who drink to keep themselves sober. It is not a necessity for everyone, but it is recommended to do for many who struggle with addiction and staying clean.
Don’t walk into a party, gathering, or social event without planning ahead. If you are not prepared, you might land in a situation you did not want to be in. picture arriving at the park, getting a non-alcoholic beverage, and staying away from the drinkers. Focus on a conversation with friends and supportive sober people or bring someone with you. Bring a friend via text that will be with you throughout the party if you need it. If you are struggling, get someone to take you home or get out of there on your own (depending on how you arrived).
Practice turning down a drink so you’ll sound confident at the vent. Try not to leave an opening for argument or discussion. Some people wonder what to do but it really is as easy as saying ‘no, thanks.’ The word can be powerful but maybe that is not the right situation. If you have to get up for work, if you have to go places and do things sober, you do not want to risk all that for some friends. Don’t put your sobriety at risk by not being able to hold boundaries. Don’t go if it’s that risky.
Simply, don’t put yourself in places you know you may be triggered. If they are old haunts or if you are doing a friend a favor as a designated driver but feel triggered doing it, don’t go. Let them know, honestly, you are struggling, and need some help. Avoid triggers at all costs and don’t put yourself at risk. You are going to struggle if you do that and you will feel like you want to kick yourself. When all is said and done, watch out for triggers and how you feel and see how you do.
The key is not to do what you feel uncomfortable doing or puts your sobriety at risk. You have too much at stake, don’t compromise. Make sure you feel like you put your recovery first and you will feel successful.
The Last Resort is a safe space to be vulnerable and find hope and healing in recovery. If you are struggling, you can come to treatment and find trained therapists ready to help you move forward in recovery from addiction. We also provide help for mental health if you are wrestling with a condition. Give us a call to find out more: 512-750-6750.