How to Stay Sober When Your Partner Still Drinks
If your life has become alcohol-free, but you still live in a community or home where alcohol is consumed, you can maintain your sobriety. Sometimes, people in early recovery believe they have to tell their partner or loved one to stop drinking or get out, but there is another way. You worked hard to achieve a sober lifestyle and don’t want to lose it. One of the first things you learn in recovery is to remove yourself from the people, places, and things that triggered your drinking. Here are a few ways you can stay sober when your partner or other family members still drink.
Plan Ahead and Set Boundaries
You may want to decline social gatherings where there will be drinking. You know the temptation to drink will be strong, and you don’t want to make a scene or embarrass anyone. Don’t feel bad about declining invitations to parties where you know there will be a lot of drinking. This is about you, not your social life. Some tips for staying sober at parties are:
- Keep a glass of a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand at all times. This will deter people from offering you a drink. Keep it mostly full so no one says you need a refill.
- Plan a way to leave the party early if the temptation to drink becomes overwhelming. You may feel like giving in if you don’t have a way out. You can tell your host you got an urgent phone call from a family member or that you feel feverish and think you should leave the crowd.
- If you came to the party with a partner who drinks, and you want to leave early, you take the car and arrange a ride for the other person. He or she shouldn’t be driving anyway.
- Tell your plan to your partner. Then, they will better understand that you’re taking sobriety seriously, and they won’t be tempted to talk you out of leaving early or accepting just one drink.
Out of Sight, Out of Temptation
Your partner may continue drinking and feel threatened if you require him or her to stop. For Los Angeles sober living, there is another way. Partners can support your sobriety efforts by the way they handle their alcohol. You can start by saying you don’t mind if they drink, but you don’t want to be around someone drunk. Another idea is to ask them not to drink from clear glass, but to use an opaque cup so the alcohol isn’t visible every time you look at them.
You may also request that they store the alcohol in a place that you don’t have to see it. For example, every time you open the refrigerator, there is a cold beer waiting for you. The best answer to this is to get another refrigerator such as a mini-fridge to keep in the garage. It will reinforce the idea that you are not pressuring your partner to stop drinking just because you are figuring out how to stay sober.
This Is Your Life
You have made the committed decision for Los Angeles sober living, but you can’t expect your partner or anyone else you live with to do the same. They may not have the same awareness about their alcohol consumption that you have. That doesn’t mean they never will, especially when they see the positive effect sober living has on your life.
However, this isn’t something that should be a condition of your commitment. You have finally acquired a taste of what is sober living that is personal and unique. If your partner is to join you, it has to be a personal decision too, and not based on your actions. Otherwise, if your commitment is dependent on anyone or anything other than yourself, in a moment of weakness, you could use it as an excuse to join them in a drink.
This is called identifying the triggers that spark the desire for a drink. It’s important to be able to recognize them to avoid them or deal with them. This doesn’t happen overnight, and you may have triggers you don’t realize at first. For example, visiting a favorite vacation spot or picnic area may make you crave a beer. Certain restaurants may suggest your favorite wine. Consider discovering new restaurants and vacation spots that don’t have any connection to your former life.
Another common trigger is stress or anxiety. To alleviate this in the past, you may have turned to alcohol. This is the most difficult trigger to overcome, which why it’s important to have help. The holidays are a time when alcohol consumption and stress increases. You may feel depressed if you can’t join in the usual festivities the way you used to. For this trigger, you may want to seek help.
Finally, hold tight to your conviction that you can reach and maintain an alcohol-free life. People who throw guilt and temptation your way are not your friends. If they love you, you can explain how they are not helping, and how they can support your efforts to stay sober. Otherwise, you should avoid them as much as you can.
Ethos Recovery offers sober living to help you stay sober even if your partner still drinks. We offer tools, guidance, and the facilities for you to take advantage of when you call us and arrange an appointment. Our Los Angeles sober living methods include the power of community to be with you on the road of recovery to the achievable goal.
Author – Chris Howard
Chris Howard is the Founder and Director of Ethos Recovery. He has a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and has served as a community advocate/mentor for men and women in recovery since 2010.