The most challenging aspect of recovery is maintaining sobriety after addiction treatment. In social situations or to unwind after a hard day, many people will turn to alcohol or drugs to relax or unwind.
You can still feel good and not risk your recovery by using alternative methods. To help you remain sober in the most challenging times, this article will discuss several alternatives to drinking and using drugs.
Recreational Use and Addiction, What’s The Difference?
You can ask yourself the following questions to determine if you are addicted to drugs and alcohol:
- How do I cope with emotional pain or mental health issues?
- When I stop using or drinking, do I feel symptoms of withdrawal?
- Despite being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, have I made dangerous or harmful decisions?
- Does my family have a history of substance abuse?
- What happens if I can’t control how much I drink or use (i.e., promises to have only one beer and then cannot stop)?
- What impact has my use of alcohol or drugs had on my social relationships?
- Have I ever wondered if I have an addiction?
If you answer these questions honestly, you may discover that you are addicted. Even though you might feel afraid about your recovery, know that treatment options can help you.
Once you discover your path to recovery, you can start getting advice on developing coping skills and alternative coping methods when you find yourself in social situations that evoke urges to drink or use drugs.
People Use Drugs and Alcohol in Social Gatherings
The consumption of alcohol or drugs is a way for many people to loosen up, let walls down, and enjoy themselves. Drinking or using certain substances releases adrenaline and specific hormones that cause you to feel good, encouraging you to continue to party.
The use of drugs and alcohol also relaxes muscles. Even though this total relaxation might feel good, it can lead to impulsive decisions and behaviors, which can be extremely dangerous.
According to medical professionals, the effects of both alcohol and drugs can negatively affect your mental and physical health. To understand the short- and long-term impact of substance abuse, let’s look at what happens:
Short-term effects of alcohol abuse can include: memory loss, impulsive decisions, nausea, headaches, worsened mental health (e.g., depression and anxiety), mood changes, and more.
Short-term effects of drug use consist of nausea, loss of consciousness, altered sleep patterns, mood swings, headaches, addiction, depression, and behavioral issues.
Long-term effects of alcohol abuse include mental health complications, brain damage, liver damage, heart failure, and even death.
Long-term effects of drug use, which include: organ failure, brain damage, mental health disorders, and death from overdose, are well documented.
Addiction to drugs and alcohol is hazardous, potentially fatal. Therefore, figuring out how to stay sober is just as important as finding the treatment that works for your addiction recovery needs.
Alternatives to Drinking and Using
In social situations, you can still have fun while remaining sober by choosing an alternative to drinking and using. Options such as these are intended to help you relax and feel good without introducing substances that may lead to addiction.
These are a few of the many alternatives to drinking and using drugs. You can use these tips to achieve your long-term recovery goals if you practice them with a sober buddy, sponsor, or mentor.
Alternatives to Alcohol
You’d be surprised at how many different alternatives to alcohol people use in social situations to mimic drinking without actually drinking. Alcohol, even in small amounts, can trigger uncontrollable urges in those in recovery.
Try non-alcoholic beers instead of drinking any amount of alcohol. If the people around you are drinking beer, you will taste beer and keep something in your hand. Mixed drinks without alcohol (“mocktails“) have the same taste as their alcohol-containing counterparts without the adverse effects.
Furthermore, drinks that are carbonated, sparkling, or have a tang, like kombucha, can give you the impression of drinking alcohol even when you are not. Even more importantly, your physical and mental health will be better as a result of this.
It should be noted. However, that alcohol-free beer and mocktails won’t help everyone. These imitation drinks will likely hinder rather than help you become sober if you are already in recovery.
Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Alcohol is such a popular way for people to relax. However, the use of alcohol to relax does not address the root cause of why you are stressed in the first place. There are numerous alternatives to the release that you might experience when you initially pick up your drink. Examples include guided meditation, exercise, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, deep breathing, and massage.
Hangouts without alcohol
You should not always meet friends at a bar if you need help recovering. If you plan to hang out now and then, suggest an alternative activity–hiking, bowling, watching a movie, etc.–that you can all enjoy without temptation.
Alternatives to Using Drugs
It cannot be easy to find alternatives to drug use. You can achieve a natural “high” feeling in other ways that will keep you happy and, most importantly, safe. Here are a few examples:
- When you exercise or play sports, your body releases natural endorphins and hormones that make you feel good
- Consider taking up a new hobby, such as reading, painting, gardening, or woodworking.
- Take a language class
- Make a difference in your neighborhood by volunteering
- It would help if you reminded yourself frequently of your goals by making lists of your motivation for getting sober
- Become a part of a community that is there for you when you need them
- Make sure you are surrounded by people who believe in your recovery journey and who will support you as you find other ways to stay sober.
Learn More on How to Stay Sober
Our staff here at Healthy Life Recovery is here to provide you with the support you need for long-term recovery. We offer plenty of different options to help you learn how to become sober and stay sober.
If you are interested in learning more about alternatives to drinking and using in your recovery process, please give us a call at (844) 252-8347 or fill out our confidential contact form today.