Can I Still Go to the Bar With My Friends After Joining AA?
For many people, going to the bar is a fun activity they are used to doing with their friends. But once you join AA, it is better to skip out on this particular gathering.
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Why Shouldn’t I Go to the Bar?
It is first and foremost important to acknowledge the fact that every individual who attends AA meetings and joins the program is different from every other member. The journey you go through with AA may be completely different than someone else’s. Be that as it may, it isn’t the wisest decision to spend time in a bar while in AA for several reasons.
- According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, abstinence is one f the “healthy lifestyle goals”
associated 12-step programs like AA. These groups teach members that drinking in moderation or trying to control one’s drinking is not a safe or valid choice after their abuse of alcohol has become a danger to them. Going to a bar when you have made a commitment to abstinence will test your strength in a way it does not need to be tested, especially not early on in your recovery.
- Your friends need to understand that you have truly made a change, whether they support your decision to attend AA or not. By showing that many different things about your lifestyle are changing––even things that affect them––they will become more aware of the commitment you’ve made.
- The main reason people go to a bar is to drink; you would be going to one of the most triggering and tempting places possible in the midst of your recovery.
You should absolutely make the decision that’s best for you. However, it is much safer and will likely be more beneficial to you to not go to the bar with your friends once you join the program.
How Will I See My Friends If I Can’t Go to the Bar?
You can create and arrange many other ways to see your friends and spend time with them that do not include going to a bar. Plan activities for all of you so you can spend time together doing something you are interested in. You can also think of the things that you like best about seeing your friends––playing games, talking, etc.––and try to incorporate these aspects into another location.
If your friends truly care about you, they will be willing to give another meeting place a try, at least while they’re with you, or to learn more about your interests. But it will always be a safer option for you to spend your time in a place that will not trigger cravings for alcohol or memories of your substance abuse.