One of the most significant aspects of a highly effective drug and alcohol recovery program, is teaching addicts to carefully examine their pasts. There are limitless types of recovery services available that are customized to the needs of the individual, but the most successful concentrate on finding causes and personality traits that first led to addiction.
One of the most powerful things leading to the development of a life of addiction is negative social interaction. Initially, people finds themselves in situations like parties, frat house celebrations, and other places where risky behavior is tolerated. For the sake of creating the best time for everyone, casual drug use and binge drinking is sometimes encouraged. As a future addict associates drug and alcohol use with having fun and forming human connections, the frequency of use increases.
All recovering addicts know the rest of the story. The need to achieve a certain feeling takes control of every facet of life. Eventually, a brain fog arises regarding the time when experimenting with drugs and alcohol was “no big deal,” and the time when life became an unmanageable downward spiral.
Discovering a Sober Party Ideal
So, how is a recovering addict supposed to regain a social life? This seems impossible because elements of social situations are sometimes at the heart of why an addiction grew in the first place. It is however, entirely possible to learn how to party, celebrate, and engage other people socially, without risking relapse. The key to this involves planning, a continual conscious effort to focus on positives, and using high degrees of creativity.
Redefine Party Goals
Here are a few strategies for successfully enjoying parties and large social gatherings as a recovering addict. They are not necessarily simple and easy, but they do work to shield an individual from losing control, and once again choosing a destructive path.
Distractions, Distractions, and More Distractions
One of the primary reasons people turn to substances to have a good time is boredom. A successfully sober house party is sabotaged when guests are left to entertain themselves. Think about it. This was probably a familiar scenario to your own experience. Don’t just provide a party space, and then expect everyone to remain clean. Nature abhors a vacuum, and guests are the same. If someone doesn’t provide games, music, ice-breakers, and other clean activities, the worst can happen.
Casual Security Measures
Even if it takes a little incentive, arrange for a friend who understands the purpose of the party to watch the door. There are very few house parties that are immune from some guests living up to the BYOB standard. There is no reason for TSA-style inspections, but there needs to be a clear understanding that drugs and alcohol are not permitted at the party. If sobriety means complete segregation from certain substances, it also means the incidental ones.
The Power of Food
It’s no secret, when people party, their metabolisms increase. Energy expenditures from dancing, screaming, and playing games must be replaced. Traditional party-goes will turn to mixed drinks with many calories, or drugs to quell the fatigue. Have food and other concessions in large quantities available for everyone. Also, have a variety of foods that prompt more people to treat themselves freely.
A Big, Yet Trusted Guest List
One problem with house parties that results in the presence of unwanted substances is an open guest list. Be proactive about knowing who exactly will attend. Start with a few trusted friends who understand the difficulties of being social and sober. Have those friends invite people they know, and so on. This networking invitation style is great for building a fun, yet clean crowd. It’s also a great way to start building other post-addiction connections.
Themes Instead of “Come One, Come All”
Turn the focus of a house party toward something specific. Don’t just assume that whatever happens is going to happen. Plan a party around a holiday, a birthday, a finals week celebration, or a solstice celebration. Encourage costumes and innovative party favors. Just like battling party boredom, do not allow guests to fill a party gap with drinking.
The Importance of Environment
Think about an important class reunion. Often reunion planners will choose a neutral facility to accommodate guests and their families. The same can happen for a house party. If a particular frat, sorority, or personal residence has a reputation for a non-sober atmosphere, avoid it. Choose a hotel conference hall, rent a model home, or even go to an outdoor area that prohibits drinking. House parties do not have to be darkly lit dins.
Force Yourself to Have Fun
Use a sober house party to start building a personal psychological connection between having fun, and doing it cleanly. Too much of the past connects parties with getting drunk. Start reinforcing the reality that great parties and social events can create pleasure though they are dry.
Like Sobriety Itself, Never Party Alone
Learning how to throw a sober house party is not easy. Sober-minded planning and preparation is a great life skills exercise, but it can be overwhelming. The reason many recovery programs assist on sponsors and sobriety partners, is because being overwhelmed can lead to a relapse. If having a successful party is at the top of a priorities list, gather friends who will help plan every detail. This includes everything from what foods to prepare, to providing individual monitoring of anyone in recovery.
It is absolutely possible for people in addiction recovery to enjoy memorable house parties. Eliminate, or modify party traditions and situations to shift the focus toward having fun and interacting with others. Sober partying has incredible potential for becoming a positive, encouraging, and healing habit.