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How to Be Sober at a Wedding

Weddings can be intimidating if you are in recovery. This can be especially true if this wedding has an open bar or even champagne for toasts. It is important to prepare yourself for your upcoming wedding if there will be any alcoholic beverages and what to do if there is.

Remain Calm

It is possible that the wedding reception has an open bar and you are seeing so many wedding guests drinking. When you see the smiles on everyone’s faces as they drink, you cannot help but start to miss alcohol. You need to tell yourself that all of these feelings are normal. You may be struggling or find it difficult to have fun when this is your first wedding sober. Remind yourself that your sole purpose at this wedding is to honor the bride and groom and not to do anything that could ruin their big day.

Bring Reminders

When you see everyone have a good time while they are drinking, you may be wondering why you chose sobriety. Before the wedding, make sure you have with you a list of reasons why you chose to be sober. Carry them in your pocket or purse and take that list out when you feel a craving. You can also use the Notes app on your phone so that you always have that list with you and do not have to worry about losing it. You can also remind yourself why sobriety will be good for you. See this wedding as an opportunity to introduce everyone to a brand new person. A person who does not get drunk or is expected to have a hangover the next morning.

What to Tell People Who Ask

If people are used to seeing you drink and you no longer are, you will most likely get a lot of questions. Make a script in advance just in case someone comes across you asking why you are not drinking. You can either use a white lie like you cannot drink for medical reasons or tell the truth. You can also be humorous about it to avoid any tension. Rehearsing this beforehand can make it sound natural once the wedding hits. Maybe you can share something on your list like telling someone you know you will not be in control after that first sip. The person you could be sharing with may have a story to tell as well.

Avoid Heavy Drinkers

You can make it easier on yourself at this wedding instead of forcing yourself to be around others who will do heavy drinking. Do not stand near the bar for a long time or speak too long to heavy drinkers. Speak to those people for no more than 15 minutes so that you are not being rude by ignoring them. Then, catch up to guests who are not drinking and spend more time with them. This will reduce your drinking triggers and help you focus on your own behavior. 

Find Things To Do

A wedding can feel long and exhausting if you are not doing anything. This will just make you want to focus on the thoughts that tell you to drink. You can fight this feeling by finding things to do. You can ask the bride or the groom if you can be a host or hostess to make sure each person can find their seat at the table or at the ceremony. You can also check in on other people to see how they are doing or fix any problems that you see. If there is anyone who is not getting any attention, feel free to speak to them. 

Let Yourself Have Fun

Having fun does not need to mean that you drink to feel good. You can still have fun by having funny conversations with others, dancing, and taking part in any games or activities. This can be a good learning experience to show you how you can have fun without a drink in your hand. You do not need a liquid to encourage you, but just listen to the music and join in.

Plan Ahead

You know when a wedding is coming up as weddings take months or even years to plan. When you know that the wedding is approaching, think of a plan before the big day comes. This can mean calling your sponsor, therapist, or anyone else supporting your sobriety. You can also make sure to write in your journal leading up to the event, do yoga, or any other form of meditation. Try to visualize the night like what you will wear, what non-alcoholic beverage you want to drink, declining alcohol, and going home at a reasonable hour. Make a firm decision to stick to this plan on the big day.

Leave Early If You Need To

If you find that sobriety is too hard for you, it is important for you to leave early if you need to. You might feel like you are selfish to leave your loved one’s big day, but thinking about your own health is important and should be prioritized. Your true friends will want you to feel comfortable whether they know what you are going through or not. Maybe you can attend the ceremony but leave the reception early if there are too many triggers. Creating a plan to handle your triggers will allow you to enjoy your loved one’s wedding sober.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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