If your recovery is going well, you might find the weekdays pretty easy to get through. You may have full-time work to keep you busy. Maybe the kids’ activities and homework take up a good portion of your time and energy. And at the end of a long day, it might not be too difficult to talk yourself into getting a good night’s sleep.
But the weekends?
Well, that might be another story entirely.
After all, you want to have some fun on the weekend, just like everybody else. But the temptation to drink or use drugs may increase as you feel pressure—or put pressure on yourself—to loosen up and have a good time.
Of course, you don’t want to just hole up at home and give up the chance to socialize with your friends and relax. It is essential that you have a set of strategies in place to help you enjoy the weekend in positive ways.
Your Weekend Action Plan
Here are several steps you can take to make sure you have a great time that is also a sober time.
- Hang out with people who support your sobriety. Your closest friends and family probably know about your recovery journey, and, as a result, they are likely able to provide you with strong support in social situations. For example, a close friend can intervene if someone is giving you a hard time about not having a drink. That said, you should avoid spending time with people who might actively undermine your recovery, especially if they have their own substance use issues.
- Clue your host into the situation. If the person hosting your social event knows that you are working to stay sober, they can help ensure that the gathering doesn’t include problematic triggers for you. Talking with them in advance can also prevent hurt feelings if you find that you need to leave an event early to protect your sobriety.
- Keep your non-alcoholic beverage in your hand. If you are already holding a drink, you are much less likely to be asked whether you need something from the bar. As a bonus, the non-alcoholic drink in your hand provides an easy thing to focus on if you start to feel cravings for alcohol or drugs.
- Keep yourself busy while you socialize. Help with set up or clean up. Keep score or serve as the banker during board games. Snap photos of your friends having fun (and make sure you get in the photos, too!). If you are focused on an activity during a gathering, you’ll feel less temptation than if you are more passive.
- Change up your activities. Heading out to the bar with your friends probably isn’t your best move. Restaurants or even your friends’ homes may also be problematic for you. If so, it will be up to you to suggest other things your social circle can do together. The options are nearly endless. For example, If you want to spend time with other people but are looking for something that blends socializing with stretches of quiet, you might head to a movie, a play, an interesting speaker, or a museum.
- Combine your socializing with service. You and your friends might find real satisfaction in volunteering together. Or you may find a new social group when you take up volunteering for a cause that is meaningful to you. Either way, the act of serving others can be a wonderful way to maintain your sobriety. No matter what issues or causes are important to you, odds are there are related volunteer opportunities available.
Socializing is an Important Support for Sobriety
All of those ideas we’ve shared might sometimes seem like more trouble than they’re worth. Wouldn’t it be easier to stay home all weekend and binge watch a show or endlessly scroll through your social media feeds?
Well, maybe. But the fact of the matter is that positive social interactions are important to our mental and emotional health—and good mental and emotional health are important underpinnings of sobriety.
Feeling a connection to others can improve your self-esteem, help you cope more effectively with anxiety and depression, strengthen your sense of trust in others, and lead to greater empathy for others. All of these things can make it easier to maintain your hard-won sobriety.
Before Working for the Weekend, Work for Your Sobriety
If you or a loved one needs treatment for a substance use disorder, the staff at Canyon Vista Recovery Center is ready to help. Maybe too much weekend partying has contributed to your current issues. If so, we can help you get sober and stay sober—and give you the tools and resources you need to make it possible to enjoy your days off again.