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Maintaining Sobriety around Friends who Consume Alcohol

Social settings where you’re the only sober person are incredible reminders of why you’re sober. It won’t be long before you see a drunk person doing something silly or stupid and be glad that it isn’t you. This used to bother me—it made me feel alone and different. But the reality is, most people drink in a social setting. Although that mindset is definitely changing, slowly but surely becoming more accommodating to non-drinkers, sober folks need to have the tools to deal with being the only sober person in the room. The point of all this, don’t forget, is to enjoy the holidays.

Most of my family’s photo albums are full of all of us dressed up to celebrate this particular night. My parents always stress the importance of looking good during these holidays, and I am sure that it is a tradition many others keep, as well. Whether your family enjoys dancing until midnight, or curling up to a movie before Santa Claus comes to drop off his gifts, here are a few outfits to wear on this special day.


You can also fake a phone call and pretend you are speaking to someone. When you look preoccupied, people would think twice before approaching you to make conversation. When you have to talk, keep it short and simple. Don’t engage in complicated topics as you may not be able to think clearly when asked an opinion.

  • If you want extra motivation to get to sleep, plan an early morning meetup with a friend.
  • Once you do return to work, it's important to create a budget and take steps to safeguard yourself as work stress can be a relapse trigger.
  • Coming up with mocktail recipes is just as enjoyable as mixing up the hard stuff – promise.
  • We’re hard-wired to seek similarities in others because it makes us feel heard, comfortable, and safe.

Now I only have an alcoholic drink if I really want one and know I’ll enjoy it. Over the past decade I’ve lost phones, thrown up in plant pots and slept with people I shouldn’t have (and let’s not even discuss the drunk texts... and on one occasion, an incoherent email). I decided on three months off the booze (one didn’t seem enough) but ended up embarking on a journey that changed my relationship with alcohol forever.

Engage in Meaningful Conversations

You can socialise and communicate with those people in ways that don't involve alcohol. Sometimes our game nights have alcohol, and people drink, my husband included, but I’ve never felt tempted because I’m having so much fun and enjoying all the snacks. Keep in mind that self-help strategies are helpful tools, but you may need additional help to remain sober long-term.

How can I be sober around drunk people and enjoy it

The symptoms involved in PAWS can be a barrier to recovery if you're not careful. In addition to being able to recognize them, it's important to know when to seek help. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) involves experiencing withdrawal symptoms that being sober around drinkers persist past the detox period. Such symptoms are often related to mood and may include irritability, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and fatigue. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine.

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