Wedding receptions often offer the perfect trifecta of food, fun, and drinks. Yet, this can present significant challenges for guests recovering from alcohol dependency. Fortunately, sitting out these celebrations isn’t the only option. Since sobriety is an important goal, how can this be achieved when the booze is flowing and emotions are high? Some smart advice can help you remain a dedicated teetotaler.
Guests in Recovery: You’re Not Alone
If you’re a wedding guest aiming for sobriety, it’s natural to feel a little anxiety. After all, you’re in a social situation where alcohol is plentiful and you’re surrounded by others who drink. Ravishly contributor Britni de la Cretaz describes feelings of loneliness when attending receptions. Medium writer Tiffany Swedeen mentions her own temptations to imbibe. SobrieTea Party’s Tawny Lara admits her own struggles. Before she tried recovery, she usually found herself drinking too much at others’ nuptials.
Powerful physical and psychological cravings are frequently triggered by emotional stress, fatigue, nostalgia, or feeling left out. Unsurprisingly, all these emotions and conditions can resurface at weddings. You may encounter some saboteurs, as blogger Dana Bowman points out. However, most of your fellow attendees don’t wish to interfere with your recovery.
Stay Alcohol-Free With These Tips
Swedeen, de la Cretaz, and Lara draw on their own experiences, offering advice to wedding guests planning on sobriety. One valuable tip is to stop worrying about how others view you. Most people will not notice or concern themselves with what you’re actually drinking, so having a non-alcoholic beverage in hand can be a lifesaver. This can be anything that makes you feel comfortable: lime and seltzer water, a soft drink, a cup of coffee, or anything else you like.
Enlisting a trustworthy individual or two could help you avoid indulgence. Be sure to give bartenders a heads up, letting them know not to serve you intoxicating drinks. You may wish to bring along a sober friend, seek out another teetotaler at the festivities, or have someone you can call or text if you need support or feel unsafe.
Distracting yourself is also a great approach when you’re at a reception. Take advantage of food, dancing, music, camaraderie, and activities. Are you a champ at horseshoes, darts, or croquet? Use the lawn games to show off your prowess. Hit the dance floor. Eat an extra cupcake. Talk someone else’s ear off. You get the idea.
Refrain From Judging Other Guests
One common pitfall that Lara mentions is the habit of silently judging others. As an individual in recovery, you could find yourself eying other guests’ behaviors. Looking down on them for their drinking and intoxication won’t contribute to your own efforts. Lara reminds readers that everyone’s relationship with alcohol is a little different. Respect is key, so remember that others’ drinking habits have nothing to do with your own sobriety.
Know When To Walk Away
While you’re planning ahead for your friends’ reception, don’t forget to construct an exit strategy. Feel free to leave early if you must, especially if you feel too tempted to drink. If you’re bringing a sober companion, let that person know that you may want to depart before the reception ends. Those attending alone should make sure they have phone numbers of reliable friends or a transport company just in case.
Don’t Worry: You’ve Got This
Recovering from alcohol dependency isn’t an easy process, but social situations can make it rougher than usual. While you want to enjoy yourself at your friends’ wedding reception, it can also be an opportunity to re-acclimate to scenarios in which alcohol is served. Staying sober requires some advance planning. Keeping a nonalcoholic drink in hand is a useful strategy, along with relying on supportive friends and having an exit plan ready.