As the summer equinox approaches, sun-filled social occasions abound.
We are mindful of these moments, sprinkled throughout the year, when our communities tell us we should be “having fun”: barbecues and pool parties and picnics and weddings and endless excuses to eat and drink.
We are particularly mindful that, for those of us recovering or suffering or both, celebrations might elicit more fear than love, more overwhelm than overjoy. We see you.When life feels beyond our grasp, we rely on tactical practices to move with a sense of ease, freedom, perhaps even joyfulness, all while staying sober. As summer unfolds, we bestow upon you the ABCs of sober socializing.
AVOID triggers. We’ve been invited to an old friend’s pool party. We spent years drinking with this friend at this pool. The memory is overwhelming, just upon receiving the invitation. We have the necessary tools to attend the gathering in sobriety, but declining may be the bravest option. Letting go of expectations, we know when we need to say “no.”. We empower ourselves with the courage to do so and the freedom to believe we really aren’t missing out.
BRING a friend. And maybe some snacks. There is no such thing as too much companionship or excessive support in sobriety. We need it all and we aim to accept it graciously. Navigating a sober life need not happen alone. With +1s in tow, we establish a keyword, an SOS. When we say “cantaloupe,” we need some conversational reinforcement. When we itch an eyebrow, we need a quick regroup in the bathroom. We establish these friendship signals with humor.
CELEBRATE in our own way. Perhaps this means hosting ourselves, which allows us to celebrate the season with those we love in a controlled environment. We elect a trusted friend or two to spread the word ahead of time and answer guests’ questions. Or, if hosting feels too overwhelming, we have that trusted friend host on our behalf. As the “ghost host,” we pioneer snacks and charades.
Now, it’s your turn. Write us with your recommendations, D – Z, and we’ll share them with this community who is here to support, encourage, and uphold you in this season.
Then, commit these to memory. Write them on your bathroom mirror. Hold them in your pocket and in your heart. Remember all those who have walked this road before you, who journey with you now, and who rely on you to pave the way as it’s been paved for you.
May the season be filled with sunshine for you and your family.
We are here at Whole Families to support you.