Sobriety in the Workplace: Navigating Happy Hours and Networking Events

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Sobriety in the Workplace Navigating Happy Hours and Networking Events

Sobriety in the Workplace Navigating Happy Hours and Networking Events

In the United States, as many as 29.5 million people over the age of 12 have an alcohol use disorder.[1] Going through the recovery process is vital to break free from this mental health condition, but it’s not easy to transition back to everyday life. Maintaining your sobriety in the workplace can be incredibly challenging because of the potential functions you may have to participate in as part of your job.

The work environment is already challenging because of the stress it can cause, but if you add holiday parties, networking events, and even client lunches, returning to work can feel like a minefield. To help you navigate these potentially dangerous situations, Silver Sands Recovery offers some guidance.

Do You Have to Go? Pros and Cons of Attending Social Work Events

When you return to work, getting back to the rhythm of things can be challenging, so trying to fit into the environment can prompt you to accept offers for parties and other social events without really thinking about it. But is attending helpful for your addiction recovery process? You have to weigh the pros and cons of attending.

The Pros

One huge benefit of going to these events is that you get to network with your peers, others in the same industry, and even clients. You can rebuild relationships with coworkers if your addiction has impacted the rapport you previously had.

Attending any work function also lets your boss, supervisors, and peers know that you are dedicated and ready to focus on the job at hand. It can reassure everyone around you that you’re invested in your position. Employees in recovery often feel like their jobs are on the line, so finding ways of proving your dedication may be crucial.

Another benefit that you may not even have considered is the knowledge that you can still enjoy conversations and perhaps appreciate them more if you’re sober.

The Cons

The drawbacks of attending can be substantial, however. People in recovery should stay away from situations in which drinking is expected. Having easy access to alcohol makes breaking your sobriety much easier. At first, it’s best if you avoid situations where you have access to alcohol.

You may come across a drink pusher who insists that you drink, and that could lead to a relapse that puts all of your hard work at risk. Another challenge that people who are attempting to stay sober face is social anxiety about being the only ones not drinking. This could also trigger you to pick up a drink.

By carefully weighing the pros and cons of each option, you can make the right decision for your unique needs. Remember, the right choice is the one that keeps you sober and safe.

Sobriety in the Workplace: Tips for Attending Work Events

If you’ve decided that the benefits outweigh the risks of attending an event where you know there’ll be alcohol, you don’t have to be at the mercy of your addiction. Some tips can help you maintain the long-term sobriety you want.

Have a Plan and Know What You’ll Say to Maintain Sobriety in the Workplace

A recovery-ready workplace will have people who understand what you’re going through and help you navigate the conversation, even having events that have non-alcoholic options or that take place in locations where alcohol is not an issue — but that’s not everyone’s experience. For most people, having a clear idea of what to do and what to say if someone offers them a drink is essential.

You may not want to share why you don’t drink or even mention that you don’t drink. In that case, you can hold a glass with water or any other non-alcoholic option so that no one makes an offer. Some people prefer to say that they’re on medications that don’t allow them to drink.

You know your work environment best. Is it a recovery-friendly space? If it is, you may feel comfortable sharing what you’re going through. This can make all of these types of events much more accessible. It’s entirely a personal decision, however, and you shouldn’t have to share anything you don’t want to share.

Have a Support System in Place

Before attending any function, you need to know you have people you can turn to if you find yourself struggling. They can be family members, friends, support group members, or anyone else.

They don’t have to be present, but let them know that you may need to talk to them. Often, just knowing you have someone ready to offer support is enough to keep you more relaxed during these kinds of situations. If you find yourself struggling after leaving the event, consider going to group meetings in your area.

Have an Exit Strategy To Maintain Sobriety in the Workplace

If the event becomes too stressful and you find yourself struggling, you need to be able to leave. That means having an exit strategy ready to go. You could drive yourself to the event so that you don’t depend on anyone else or know precisely whom you can call to come pick you up quickly.

Some people choose to let some of their coworkers know that they’re not feeling well, but you can make any excuse you need to get away from a triggering situation.

Start Your Journey to Sobriety at Silver Sands Recovery

Addiction impacts your entire life, so getting help from recovery programs is crucial. At Silver Sands Recovery, we offer several program options to help you attain and maintain sobriety. Contact us today to get the help you deserve.




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