Alcohol and recreational drugs have become almost staples at today’s late-night parties because they are what people commonly turn to in order to feel more comfortable in large social settings. The idea is that alcohol and recreational drugs can help to “break the ice” and help users to get past their social anxiety. The problem with this, however, is that these social benefits are accompanied by negative consequences for the body, especially in the case of recreational drugs. Moreover, social drinking or drug use can escalate into substance abuse, especially for those who have a predisposition towards addiction. Whether you’re looking to overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol, or you would like to prevent yourself from relying on these substances in social settings from the get-go, here are some tips to being social without turning to drugs and alcohol.
Spend time in sober-friendly settings.
It can be incredibly difficult to stay sober in an environment when drinking and/or drug use is expected—a bar, club, or late-night party, for example. Instead of spending all of your social time in settings such as this, consider other settings were substance use isn’t as common or expected. Some examples of such settings include coffee shops, movie theaters, art galleries, theatre performances, and parties that take place earlier in the day. One bonus to being social while staying sober is that you’ll likely start living a more varied social life, with less of your social time revolving solely around drinking and drug use.
Get to know yourself better.
The more time you spend getting to know yourself, your talents, and your unique interests, the more likely you are to gain self-confidence, which will in itself help immensely in social situations. Self-love is vital for helping you meet people you are compatible with, as well as for helping you feel more comfortable when you are on your own in social settings.
Find people you have things in common with.
Long-lasting friendships and relationships are built on shared interests and compatible personalities—not a shared use of drugs or alcohol. Keep this in mind as you seek to build a social circle at parties and other social events. Alcohol and drugs are not necessities when it comes to being social; in fact, they will likely keep you from meeting and truly getting to know those whom you can build solid friendships with.
Don’t make excuses for your sobriety.
Sometimes you just might find yourself in a social situation where you feel pressured to explain why you are not drinking or using while everyone else is. Don’t feel as though you need to explain to everyone who asks why you aren’t using; a simple “no, thank you” or “none for me tonight” should suffice. People will gauge how to respond to your decision to be sober by how you discuss it, so the more nonchalant you are, the more likely people are not to bother you about it.