Chair with flower on it at wedding

While weddings are supposed to be a beautiful celebration of love or commitment, they can also sometimes get a little wild. If it is not a dry or sober wedding, it means there will be alcohol there in some capacity. Especially if there is an open bar and the booze is flowing, the wedding may turn into more drinking parties rather than a commemoration of the union of two people.

How to Not Drink at a Wedding & Relapse

If you recently completed an alcohol abuse treatment program and are newly sober, the thought of being surrounded by alcohol and inebriated guests can be daunting. Although intimidating, it doesn’t mean you have to skip the event altogether. There are plenty of ways to stay sober at a wedding and still have fun.

If you are planning on attending a wedding sober, follow these tips to help you stay on track and avoid relapse.

Be Prepared

When attending a wedding in recovery, it is important to be prepared beforehand. Think about everything that could cause you to want to drink. These alcohol triggers may include the bar, the toast, or even certain people. When you know they are coming, triggers can lose some of their power and you can also think about the best ways to combat them. You could even talk about the upcoming event in your intensive outpatient program or a recovery meeting to get insight from others about how they deal with going to weddings in recovery.

Be Ready for Peer Pressure

Drinking can be a big part of some weddings, so do not be surprised if other guests are pushing alcohol. Having a list of prepared excuses for not drinking at the wedding may help you dodge some of these advances, but some guests may still be a bit pushy. An easy way to deter them is to have a non-alcoholic drink in hand. Other people will just assume you are drinking alcohol too.

Find Support

Attending weddings while sober can be tricky if the guests are big drinkers and they do not know that you are in recovery. While you do not need to share your sobriety with everyone, it is important to have at least someone there who knows your situation. That person can not only hold you accountable but also support you if you start feeling triggered.

Stay Busy

While you may be used to drinking at these kinds of events, you don’t need alcohol at a wedding to have fun. Whether it is hitting the dance floor, jumping into the photo booth, or trying your luck at lawn games, these activities may act as a distraction from drinking and help you feel less tempted.

Leave Early

If you feel like you still need to learn how to be sober at a wedding or any big event that includes alcohol, it may be best to leave early. The last thing you want to do is put your sobriety at risk so taking early recovery one small step at a time may be the best approach. Plan ahead to leave after the ceremony or after dinner at the reception.  While it may feel like you are missing out now, you will thank yourself in the long run.

Have an Exit Plan

When in doubt, have an exit plan. Not drinking at a wedding when you are newly sober can be a big ask. If you are feeling tempted and like you may relapse, get out. Just removing yourself from this party atmosphere can take a huge weight off your shoulders, but you are not in the clear yet. Have a trusted friend ready to leave with you, immediately meet up with someone not invited after, or call your sponsor. You should not be alone

Attending a wedding in recovery may be hard at first but it will likely get easier as time goes on and you are more established in your sobriety. The most important thing to remember is to put your recovery first.

If you feel like you need more support or you do relapse, we are here for you. Our Massachusetts rehab offers a full continuum of care to help guide people through every step of their recovery journey. Contact us today at Vertava Health Massachusetts to learn more.