How to Survive Being Sober in Your Twenties. The stereotypical twenty-something is someone who has seemingly endless energy, fills the dance floors downtown, and spends a lot of their time socializing around alcohol. Taking shots, drinking beer, or sipping wine are all common enough in a twenty-something social setting that being sober at this stage in life can be challenging. In order to survive being sober in your twenties, it’s going to take a lot of preparation and support. It’s about understanding your triggers, finding sober activities, keeping the risks of relapse in mind, continuing to get help, and celebrating your wins.
For some, the stereotypical twenty-something lifestyle isn’t for them. For others, it’s important to take part in the twenty-something experience without alcohol. Both are possible with hard work and support.
Not everyone looking to stay sober has an issue with alcohol dependency. Many people in their twenties (or any age) choose to stay sober for other reasons. However, the ones that have a hard time staying sober tend to be those that have an addiction to alcohol. If that describes you, than it’s important to be aware of your triggers in order to stay successful in your sobriety. Learning how to identify a trigger may be difficult, but it’s important to take note of those moments and either avoid them, or work through them. Some common triggers may be:
Just because something is a trigger doesn’t mean you can’t work through it or someday be around it. But everything takes time. Be aware of your triggers and either avoid them or cope through them. Some people in recovery replace drinking alcohol with another liquid like a soda or lemon water. Some decide to write when they are upset instead of drinking. Some like to make snacks to enjoy during a game instead of alcohol. It’s all about finding what works for you.
Twenty-somethings are great at pairing nearly everything with alcohol, so finding sober activities can be difficult depending on your social circle. However, if being around alcohol is hard for you, don’t be afraid to communicate that if you feel comfortable. Otherwise, it can help to find activities you enjoy that are sober. Hiking, painting, going to art shows, going to the movies, trying new restaurants, visiting family, having sober dinner parties, babysitting, or having game nights can all be sober activities that can still be social. Not only are these activities great if they aren’t triggers, they can also be coping activities if you’re craving a drink.
One tactic in surviving sobriety is remembering the risks associated with alcohol dependency. It’s important not to dwell on the negative or continue to feel guilty through your path to sobriety, but remembering the risks can be a positive tactic in remaining sober and fighting through the urge to drink. It’s about remembering the risks of drinking and driving and understanding what the victims of drunk drivers have go through. It’s about taking note of your health, safety, and legal standing and how those aspects of life are affected by alcohol dependence. Remember to acknowledge the risks and to be proud of yourself for the changes you’ve made.
Surviving sobriety in your twenties is about understanding that sobriety is a lifelong process. With time it’s a lot easier to be sober. Looking at someone drinking a beer in a television show isn’t always difficult. With time that trigger fades a bit. It’s not always hard to be around it. However, triggers can often happen out of nowhere — even years into sobriety.
Relapses happen; mental health can suffer; and social isolation can be hard. This is why it’s important to continue to utilize help. Talking to a therapist, going to a meeting, utilizing your support systems, leaning on a friend who is respectful of your sobriety, or utilizing a sponsor are all ways to continue to get help through your journey, no matter which stage you are in.
Celebrate your wins — ALL of them. Your first night out without a drink? Celebrate. One week, three months, one year, 10 years without a drink, celebrate all of those milestones! Even the ones that are specific to you, like getting through a concert without drinking or being a DD for your friends for a night. Those all matter and help you to survive sobriety in a decade of your life when it can be extremely uncomfortable to be sober. How you celebrate those wins can vary and depend on how you would like to celebrate. Buy yourself something you’ve wanted for a while, go get a dessert, call a friend to tell them, write it in a journal, or treat yourself to a new experience. Your wins will help you get through your sobriety.
Being in your twenties can be a giant party for many people. So many twenty-somethings utilize alcohol in so many social situations that it can be difficult to socialize without it. This is why surviving this time without booze can be so hard. Fortunately, there are a ton of perks to being sober in your twenties. You can focus on yourself, stay alert, and avoid the hangovers. Learning how to socialize with drinkers as a non-drinker is hard, but it’s possible. By recognizing triggers, finding sober activities, remembering the dangers, continuing to get help, and celebrating your wins, you can survive being sober in your twenties.
Guest Post by Chelsy Ranard