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The Perception Connection

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), PERCEPTION is defined as:  “The process or result of becoming aware of objects, relationships, and events by means of the senses, which includes such activities as recognizing, observing, and discriminating. These activities enable organisms to organize and interpret the stimuli received into meaningful knowledge and to act in a coordinated manner“. 

In early sobriety it is important to learn how to discriminate.  Suppose a group of your old using buddies want to get together on Friday night, they promise that no drugs will be involved because they want to support your efforts to maintain your sobriety, they suggest meeting at the local bar, an old “hang out” spot for you and your friends.

Hmmm… Have you heard the old saying, “If you walk into a barbershop you are going to end up getting a haircut?”  Well the same can be said for meeting old pals at a bar.  You may have ever  felt you had a problem with alcohol, and you have no intention of drinking…but if you combine early recovery + socializing + your friends having cocktails + wishing you could change the way you feel (shy, nervous, uncomfortable, angry, bored, frustrated, etc.)…there is a high probability of relapse.

So what do you do?

Hint: Re-read the definition of perception.

When I have been in situations such as this I usually suggest that we meet at a restaurant, a Coffee House or the Dairy Queen.   I didn’t go into a big explanation of WHY I didn’t want to meet at a bar…there’s no need.  My friend’s immediate response was, “Oh Dairy Queen would be awesome.  I haven’t had a blizzard in forever!”

Problem averted!

Becoming an advocate for your own recovery means you need to discriminate between how things USED to be, to how things NEED to be now that you are in recovery.   A year from now, it might be no big deal to meet up with buddies in a bar.  For me, bars just aren’t that fun anymore.  I’d much rather go disco bowling (where my friends can have pitchers of beer if they want) and we are actually “doing” something.  It’s okay to go out and have fun with your friends, just make sure the “fun” is not contingent on getting loaded.  THINK, THINK, THINK.

Post Script

No matter what the activity, I have found having my own transportation is important.  This allows me to come and go as I please without putting a damper on someone else’s fun or explaining myself to others.

Take care of YOU and the rest will take care of itself…  Margo                                                                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8SPwT3nQZ8 


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