Major life events like your college graduation, your wedding, your best friend’s wedding, and getting pregnant should bring feelings of happiness, excitement, and success.

However, those major life events typically bring on stress and anxiety as well. For those who have suffered from addictions and disorders in the past, these major life events can trigger a step (or steps) backward in the recovery process.

Birthday & Graduation Parties

Parties are often held at restaurants and bars where alcohol is readily available. Even when parties are held in someone’s home, typically some sort of alcoholic beverage has also been invited.

Make sure you are in the right mindset to attend the gathering. If you’ve been sad, upset, or in a bad mood, think long and hard about attending the event. Since alcohol is often used to self-medicate, being in a place with alcohol on hand when you are down can be dangerous. It might be best not to attend at all.

If you do choose to go, grab a non-alcoholic drink as soon as you get to the event. Get a glass of water, coke, or cranberry juice. Ask for a virgin daiquiri, margarita, or pina colada. When you have a drink in your hand, people won’t be asking if you need a drink.

A word of caution: your virgin drink looks just like the non-virgin version, so be careful where you put your drink down. After you hit the dance floor, be sure to give your drink the “sniff test” so you can avoid any unfortunate mix-ups.

The Wedding Open Bar

Your wedding. Your rules. If you are in the early stages of sobriety, the thought of having alcohol at your wedding might make you nervous or stressed. Talk to your significant other, and come up with a plan. You don’t have to serve alcohol at your reception.

Your guests should understand that under the circumstances, having a bar isn’t a good idea. Instead, come up with some fun, fruity, non-alcoholic concoctions. And of course, you can’t go wrong with good coffee and a selection of teas.

Your best friend’s wedding. When you’re a bridesmaid or groomsman in the wedding, you want to stay for the whole reception and dance. At some receptions, the longer the dance goes, the more intoxicated people tend to get. If there’s alcohol at your best friend’s wedding, come up with a plan before you go. Consider bringing along a date who will stay sober with you.

There is strength in numbers, and having a sober support person can make the experience easier and more fun. If it gets too tough, you can always leave. You have to take care of yourself, and you shouldn’t feel the need to stay somewhere if that place is threatening to your sobriety. The people who love you will understand.

This is a two part series on major life events and past addictions. In our next blog post, we will talk about the struggle that some recovering anorexia and bulimia sufferers face during major life events. 

If you would like to set up an appointment to see Reka, you can reach her at 402-881-8125. You can also email her at You can stay connected with us on Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: 1st Birthday menu via photopin (license)