How Can I Stay Safe During Summer Parties?
Most alcoholics and addicts fear that when they enter recovery, the fun stops. That simply isn’t true. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says “we are not a glum lot… we absolutely insist on enjoying life.” It also says that we “can go anywhere on this earth where other free men may go without disaster, provided [we] remain willing to maintain a certain simple attitude.”
That attitude is to keep in our minds the principles we learn in the 12-Steps of recovery. We insist on having fun, and we can go places freely as long as we keep our minds on the foundations of recovery. Social events increase during certain times of the year, like the holidays – and now summertime is upon us. There are pool parties, vacations, and social gatherings galore. So it might be helpful to remember a few simple things to stay safe and help maintain our recovery.
What Kind of Socializing Is It?
It’s very true that we can go anywhere free men may go, as long as we maintain our spiritual condition. There are not many caveats to this, but there are some things to keep in mind. We rarely have a good reason for avoiding a visit to Grandma’s house. But a family holiday gathering where there may be lots of alcohol or undealt-with family issues might take further consideration.
Going to a backyard party where everyone is drinking and barbecuing might not be the safest place for us. Visiting an old friend and sitting on their couch while they drink or use is never really a good idea either. But getting together with sober friends and watching a movie or going to a beloved friend’s wedding (even if alcohol will be present) might be good options to consider.
And remember, it’s never a bad idea to hit a meeting or attend a sober function! We could even try to squeeze in a meeting before going to any event we feel uneasy about. We have to carefully consider our reasons for going out, as well as honestly assess the state of our mind and spirit.
This isn’t as much work as it sounds like – rather, it’s just some quiet, honest reflection, and perhaps a quick call to our sponsor or a trusted friend to help us make the right decision when the choice is a bit unclear.
Monitor Your MIndset
Socializing and being with friends and family can be great for our mental and spiritual health. It is vitally important for our quality of life to spend time enjoying the company of our loved ones. Sometimes there are good reasons to miss a social event or quality time with people. But if we’re a little tired, or just don’t feel like putting in the effort, that’s usually a signal that we could use the uplifting company of our loved ones and we probably should be with them.
There’s another side to the coin, however, that would be helpful to consider. Maybe we’re in a rough place mentally or spiritually. If we feel vulnerable to our disease, it’s likely not a good idea to go anywhere there might be drugs or alcohol until after that tension has passed.
Of course, for it to pass, we usually need to go to a meeting, work with our sponsor, or work with another alcoholic. There is no shame in needing to work on your mental or spiritual state before going out. If we are suffering from depression, it may be very good for us to go out, as long as where we’re going is safe for our sobriety.
Safety in Numbers
If there is a social event we can’t avoid that may not be safe for us because of our current state or some other circumstance, we can almost always bring a guest or two. It would be smart to bring a sober friend or two – someone who is in a good place and not subject to the same triggers or temptations as we are.
There is safety in numbers, and having stable, sober people just be there to watch our back can often be an immense help. Traveling with sober friends not only makes it safer but usually makes it a lot more fun, too!
Stay Current With Your Sponsor
Those of us in recovery are blessed to experience a daily reprieve from our disease as long as we keep in fit spiritual condition and perform daily maintenance. That means that we enjoy the freedom to go where any free man may go, as long as we keep active and current in our recovery.
It’s always a good idea to never go too many days without a meeting. Lots of people don’t go more than one day between meetings. It’s no coincidence that there are lots of “old-timers” who hit a meeting every day! We should also do our best to stay up-to-date and current with our sponsor and stay active in our 12-Step work. These practices help keep us in fit spiritual condition, along with the recommended daily doses or prayer and meditation.
Our life in recovery should be full to bursting with fun, family, friends, and social gatherings. We really are not a glum lot! But we are also not a reckless lot anymore, either. Consider the nature of the social events you’re invited to. Pay attention to how you’re feeling and thinking. Go with sober friends whenever possible.
Keep in fit spiritual and mental condition with regular meetings, 12-Step work, prayer, and meditation. These simple things don’t take much effort and they can help ensure that we achieve long-term recovery, while also enjoying life to the fullest. Have fun, and be safe!
At Jaywalker Lodge, we insist on enjoying life. For most alcoholics and addicts, this means we must learn how to utilize the tools that will keep us in recovery for the long term. Without hope and meaningful recovery, it is difficult for addicts and alcoholics to do much quality living. If you are struggling to maintain sobriety or finding it difficult to integrate into the recovery community, Jaywalker Lodge can help. Call us today at (866) 529-9255.