In our society, weddings have somehow shifted from being a celebration of a lifelong commitment between two people who love one another to being the biggest party you’ll ever throw in your lifetime. Because of this, weddings now pose a great threat to someone’s sobriety. Open bars, cocktail hours, and champagne toasts can all be triggers for someone in recovery.
While it may be an option to avoid going to some weddings, it’s unrealistic to believe you will never have to go to another wedding in your lifetime. Let’s say a close friend or family member is getting married; you’re going to want to be there for their special day. Here are some suggestions for how to stay sober if and when you have to go to a wedding.
Attend the Ceremony Only
As I mentioned earlier, the ceremony is the most important part of any wedding. Being there to witness your friends or family members making a lifelong commitment to one another should be your priority. So, if you’re worried about being triggered by alcohol at the reception, you can attend the ceremony worry-free. Let the bride and groom know ahead of time so they know to make a point in letting you say congratulations before the reception.
Bring a Sober Plus One
If you’ve been given the option of bringing a guest, consider bringing someone who is also sober. Bringing someone like a sponsor or someone in AA or NA can help hold you accountable and gives you someone understanding to talk to if you’re feeling triggered. Having someone with you to support your sobriety will help deescalate potentially dangerous situations.
Have an Escape Plan
If you do feel triggered at any point throughout the wedding, make sure you have an escape plan. Whether it’s driving yourself so that you can leave whenever you want to, or having a friend or family member on-call to pick you up, this small step in planning ahead can go a long way. Know that setting-up an escape plan isn’t setting yourself up to fail, it’s perfect for empowering you to make the right decisions when you need them.
If you have a wedding coming up and want further assistance in developing a relapse prevention plan, considering making an appointment with a counselor at Rehab After Work.
Article Written by Shaylyn Forte, LPC, CAADC