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This holiday season, will you party sober?

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Searidge Foundation is a not-for-profit drug and alcohol rehab located in Nova Scotia. In addition to providing personalized treatment, we try to create articles and resources that are useful to those suffering directly and indirectly from addiction and substance abuse.

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Alcohol and social gatherings, just seem to go hand in hand, don’t they?

Nothing gets a party going quite like a bottle of liquor. Our ancestors also recognised alcohol’s power; in his book Drunk, Slingerland argues that alcohol caused humans to become more cultural and communal, providing the “spark that caused humans to form large-scale groups”. These sparks turned into the flames that fueled the beginnings of civilisation as we know it today. Evidence from biology and evolution also fits in with this theory; we probably wouldn’t have evolved the enzymes needed to break down alcohol if early humans didn’t benefit from it.

The idea of taking alcohol’s fewer negative effects and using them to your advantage is appealing. This is the premise of Academy Award-winning film Another Round, which sees four middle-aged teachers attempt to stay moderately drunk for days at a time. However, the film makes it clear that the line between tipsy and drunk is deceptively easy to cross. In other words, any benefits that alcohol provides quickly wear off after only 1 or 2 drinks.  The critical success of this film, as well as the increase in alcohol sales over the past year, both point to the idea that more people have been turning to alcohol to cope with the global pandemic. Alcohol provides the same benefits that it did during early civilisation; feelings of joy and euphoria, as well as a temporary blockage in the brain pathways that lead to stress can be especially desirable right now.

Can you avoid drinking and still enjoy the seasonal parties?

At Searidge Foundation we believe you can live a full and happy life sober and healthy. We have collected a few tips we think will help to inform your decisions about the upcoming festive and social season.

And as we slowly emerge from a year of distancing and isolation, the pressure to socialise with alcohol may be more pronounced. Especially in a society in which drinking alcohol was the cultural norm, it can be hard to escape. However, when it is more harmful than helpful to indulge, there are some ways to socialise without it.

Join a sober group on Smart recovery

Now that it’s becoming safer to, consider meeting up with people on a similar journey. You can go on hikes, plan picnics, or even just grab a cup of coffee with other sober people in your community. The best part is that these outings are low-cost and often free. To learn more, visit Smart Recovery Nova Scotia to attend a virtual meeting.

Sober De-Stressing take a sober stay-cation

Today, travel can be both a break from the stresses of day to day and can also be downright stressful, especially when coping with both Covid and remaining sober; however, even taking a small day trip style vacation in your home province or state can be liberating; and when you practice travelling sober it will also prove to be an empowering one. Use the power of search and Google ‘sober stay-cations’ for some great sober staycation ideas and tips.

At a party? Keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand

This trick works for several reasons. For one, you won’t have to explain why you’re not drinking to every single person at the summer barbecue. Also, hosts can’t casually put a drink in your hand if there is one already there. Finally, the drink can be a powerful physical reminder of your goals if you ever feel tempted to indulge throughout the day.

Have an escape plan for when you are ‘peopled out’

There may come a time during the party or event that you just feel you have done all you comfortably can, and need to retreat to the safety of a space, or attend a meeting, in these cases we recommend planning your exit before you arrive.

Even with our best intentions, successfully socialising sober can depend on things that may be outside our control. A demanding host or pushy party guests might make staying sober harder than it needs to be, so having that escape plan can be more important than you think. This can be as simple as bringing your own vehicle to the event or having a cab on standby when you’re ready to leave.

Social events can be full of triggers for people recovering from alcohol dependency. However, rest assured that it is possible to socialise even despite this.

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