When someone is entering recovery and not drinking, they are frequently anxious about engaging in social events that revolve around drinking. They may be surprised to discover that many people do not drink or drink very little, so it is not an issue if they drink or not. On the other hand, their social circle may include people that drink like they used to. The first scenario is straightforward. It involves asking those folks not to drink when socializing with the person new to recovery. They most likely will find that this is not a problem and they are more than happy to oblige, partially because they are aware that the newly sober person drank too much in the past.

The second scenario is developing a network of friends that don’t drink. The 12-step fellowships are a great place to start. One can always suggest a meet up place where alcohol is not served, such as a coffee shop, or suggest activities where alcohol is not included such as walking, shopping, hiking and or playing a sport.

When a newly sober person is in the company of others that drink, a plan that includes having access to non-alcoholic beverages is a must, and having that non-alcoholic drink in hand is important. This makes it easy to say “I’m fine” or “I don’t need another drink, thanks” when asked. An ‘escape plan,’ should be included. If any point one feels uncomfortable or triggered to drink, a well-thought-out exit plan is crucial.

It is always helpful to have a companion that knows one’s desire not to drink and that can keep a caring eye out for a person new to sobriety. A companion will help them if they freeze or feel uncomfortable. It is important for a newly sober person to socialize and figure out how to handle different situations.

It does get easier as time goes by.