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Staying Sober at Weddings

Staying Sober at Weddings

Part of maintaining one’s sobriety is being able to reintegrate oneself into one’s daily life. This implies being able to participate and enjoy all aspects of life, without use of drugs or alcohol.

Practicing methods learned throughout one’s journey through treatment is essential. Rewiring one’s brain to allow it to function fully without being reliant upon abused substances takes time.

Though there are many tools and coping mechanisms taught throughout one’s treatment experience to help with tempting situations, it is always tough to actively put oneself in position that may be triggering. In some cases, placing oneself in a challenging situation is, however, unavoidable. Weddings, are the perfect example of a possibly difficult event or situation that a sober individual may find him or herself faced with attending. Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions, but can be riddled with temptation for a recovering addict. They are celebrations that are often filled with excess. Guests at wedding receptions can often go overboard in participating in the celebration due to the common open access to a bar and loud, high energy music. It may sound silly to create a plan for an event such as this. It is, however, the planning, diligence and care when thinking of such a short timeframe, that will set an individual up for success as it is these situations that can be enormously trying for an individual working on sustaining his or her sobriety

The emotional aspect of a wedding can also be a trigger for a sober individual.

Wedding, similar to many life changing events, bring up emotions for everyone present. They can force people to look at one’s own life and life trajectory. They can bring past memories of other weddings and/or relationships to the forefront of one’s consciousness. They can set the stage for someone to dream of how they wish or hope their wedding may look like—what to do, what not to do, etc. Many other suppressed thoughts, feelings, or emotions surrounding weddings and life events can surface rather quickly for a guest at a wedding.

When attending a wedding one needs to make the firm decision to stay sober beforehand. Significant effort will go into maintaining one’s sobriety around such ubiquitous temptations. Looking around at a wedding and seeing that almost everyone is inebriated can be extremely jarring and possibly alluring. Sometimes, simply having a quick break from the somewhat chaotic energy that can manifest at a wedding reception can be helpful. It is ok to step outside for a moment or two, especially if it will help a sober individual to re-center him or herself.

It can be advantageous for a sober person to bring another sober individual or find someone at the wedding who will also stay sober throughout the festivities. This can aid the sober individual significantly, as he or she will know that they are not alone in their efforts of maintaining sobriety.

Whether an individual chooses to bring a sober friend, or finds someone at the event that will stay sober with him or her, or does neither, it can also be helpful to apprise other guests at the wedding of one’s sobriety. Having a couple of other individuals aware of one’s sobriety can help with accountability. Additionally, or alternatively, one can inform the bartender or bartenders of one’s sobriety. This can create an alliance, and can help to assure that alcohol is not served to the sober individual.

Always having an exit plan is extremely helpful when attending a wedding. In some cases, temptations will become too overwhelming and one must know his or her limit. It is better to remove oneself from the situation before any poor choices are made. Knowing an exit strategy beforehand will aid in the peace of mind that there is always a way out of the situation. This can include, for example, having a friend apprised of the situation and available to come and pick the individual up from the event, or simply making sure no one is relying on the individual for a ride after the event (that way if he or she chooses to leave early, they can do so freely).

Even with all of the possible bumps to achieving a smooth experience as a wedding guest, it is important to remember to have fun. Weddings are meant to be all about celebrating the union and love of a couple, so celebrate!

Focus on the parts of the wedding that are not the open bar. Weddings are usually filled lots of food, excited people, and music. A wedding is a celebration, after all.

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