Guest Post: Things to Do Instead of Drinking at Night by Crista Nezhni and Elana B.

Hello again! This guest post is a revision of an article previously published by Elana B with updates by our regular contributor, Crista Nezhni. Check out some of her previous guest posts on our News and Events page.

Take a look below if you’re interested in fun and sober activities!

How to Socialize with Your Friends, Peers, and Co-Workers When You Don’t Drink

Most of the time we can’t think of things to do instead of drinking at night or going out to eat.  Consequently, when you’re reinventing your life in recovery, this can make things very difficult.

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You’re changing people, places, and things in order to remain sober and in recovery. Additionally, you’re trying to fit into society’s images for a successful and productive human being. This includes gaining employment and/ or getting into an educational program to help you to begin to fit into this mold.

As human beings, we are social creatures. When we meet people in our new school or work settings, we want to make new friends. So, when we are asked to go out with these new people for drinks while in recovery, how can we still socialize with them?

Refusal Skills

By no means would I ever condone going to a bar or party with a lot of drinking when you are in early recovery, or when you are attempting to stay sober in general. The temptation can be too much. The thing is, alcohol is everywhere in our society today: Gas stations, movie theatres, fast-food establishments, concerts, get-togethers, and sports games. 

So, what are some good refusal skills when we are surrounded by others who are drinking alcohol? Communication is not only verbal in its methodology. Non-verbal means are also important.

  • The first thing you should say is “No”. Hold your ground firmly and don’t give the other person a chance to allow you to question your decision. There is no reason to feel bad for staying sober.
  • On the same note, stay firm on your response and do not hesitate with your answer. This is one time that it’s okay to be impulsive. You already know what the consequences of saying “Yes” have been in the past for you. Consequently, practicing saying “No” when faced with difficult situations can be extremely helpful. Remember: assertive and aggressive communication aren’t one and the same.
  • Let the co-worker know that you would appreciate if they would stop asking you to go drink with them. You don’t have to tell them you’re an alcoholic if you don’t want to. There are many reasons that people decide to not drink.
  • Looking someone in their eyes can help reinforce your seriousness regarding the matter.
  • Keep good posture. Hold your head high. This shows you are firm in your decision making and not silently questioning what you are saying out loud.
  • Bring up a different subject or come up with a different solution to going for drinks.

Alternative Suggestions for Things to Do Instead of Drinking At Night

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If you have some trouble saying “no” when you are around others who are drinking, there’s an easy fix. Alternative sober living activities and other ideas of hangouts can be helpful. Some sober places to hang out and things to do in the evenings with acquaintances, co-workers, and friends include:

  • Visiting coffee houses
  • Attending 12-step or support group meetings
  • Reading together
  • Working out at 24-hour gyms or group fitness classes
  • Gardening 
  • Cooking or baking
  • Visiting parks and hiking (be safe and bring light sources!)
  • Watch movies or attend film festivals
  • Play board games or video games
  • Arrange (healthy) potlucks and dinner parties

Ultimately, there are so many options when it comes to things to do instead of drinking at night. Try a few and see what you may enjoy now that you’re sober!

Crista Nezhni is a Team Member of Kids Creative Exploration, an organization that encourages kids of all ages to express themselves creatively in a safe and positive environment. She also works with children and adults to facilitate natural health practices such as proper nutrition and regular yoga practice.

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