Patient Blogs | Substance Abuse
How I Manage Social Situations
photo of dinner with friends

One of the first things you’re taught in recovery is to accept what you can’t change, and you’ll never be able to change the actions, words, or principles of other people. They will drink, they will drug, they will do what they do.

People will be people. Life shows up fast, especially when people around you start getting married and dying and you’re expected to go to weddings and funerals sober -- and stay that way. Tricky stuff if you’re anything like me.

Birthdays come around once a year -- every year. I’ve been drinking on those for as long as I can recall, far too young of an age for me to tell you without feeling deeply embarrassed and guiltier than even I realize.

I don’t know how to manage many things well. Social situations are one of those I simply have no interest in trying to manage. I just don’t drink or use before, during, or after them, just for today, or a day at a time.

That’s just for me; you do you. Please don’t let me get in your way because with all due respect, I’m certainly not letting anyone or anything, especially a drink, drug, or substance get in my way.

Because we always have a choice  -- no matter what.

Trying to manage the unmanageable kept me sick; it never got me better.

I’ll let the managers manage, while I just try to breathe and be for a second.

I’m not too proud to admit I can’t manage alone and I’m willing to ask another for help with it (until it is resolved universally, in an almost divine fashion). Call it God, the law of attraction, a higher power, or pure luck.

All I know is it manages what I can’t, which is a whole bunch.

Social situations are at the top of the list, being that they involve other people.

Just trying to manage myself is enough for me most days. I have my hands filled with prayers, just asking for another day each morning. It’s how I manage.

I walk into the fire, without fear in my heart or head, and move forward.

I remind myself that all the things I’ve been through built strength, not weakness. That is my superpower, not my secret.

Drinks, drugs, prescriptions, and the people who use and abuse them aren’t going anywhere. You can spend your life running from that fact or get used to it and accept it to the point you almost overlook it, all while always being acutely aware of it, for your own safety.

That’s just for me though. We’re all unique in our approach.

Some people are best suited to stay as far away from all of it as possible. I say this with no judgment, with nothing but empathy and complete understanding.

Still, others have to live on the frontlines and become metaphorical firefighters.

It’s our version of social situations, and what we know how to manage our way through. It’s where we thrive and most likely where we belong.

 

 

Photo Credit: Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision via Getty Images

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Brian Brewington

Brian Brewington

Diagnosed since 2014

Brian Brewington has been on the journey of addiction recovery since 2014 and was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder in 2019. A 34-year-old writer and freelancer from Philadelphia, his work has been featured in KEF Audio Magazine, and he runs the Journal of Journeys publication on Medium.com, where his writing first became popular. Brewington still sees a therapist and attends 12-step program meetings regularly. You can read more from him here.

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