Positive Tips for a Safe and Sober Graduation

Graduation is a few weeks away and that means there will be tons of parties and cause for

(Photo credit: uonottingham)

celebration.  Sometimes, grad night acts as a bridge to experimental drinking and drug use, or it can be uses as justification for intoxication. Graduation is a milestone and often symbolizes growing up and moving into adulthood. At times, adulthood is perceived as freedom from childhood where there are no parents breathing down their necks, no teachers calling home when they don’t pull their weight in class, and no one to report to. How many time have we heard,”Gah. I can’t wait to be an adult.” If they only knew, right!?


Graduation time is a great opportunity to brainstorm with your teen about the various positive options available to them if they find themselves in a compromising situation. Likewise, graduation time calls for active parenting where transparency coupled with healthy boundaries and compassion are key.


Check out the following grad-night sobriety tips. If you’re in any kind of recovery, these will be helpful:

  • Have a sober posse with you – a group of friends that you can rely on and who are on the same or similar path as you.
  • Create an exit plan: know what you will do if something goes awry or if you find yourself in a tough situation.
  • Call your sponsor before and after an event.
  • Movie night.
  • Host a sober house party – there’s nothing like good music, laughter, and silliness.
  • Create a scavenger hunt where people have to work in teams. You could do it in your local city with a start and end place.
  • Use the buddy system – don’t go it alone.
  • Ask your school to host fun, alcohol-free parties after graduation.
  • Suggest that parents and teachers run a hotline on prom night. If students have trouble getting to or from the dance or are riding with someone who’s been drinking, they can call for a safe ride with no questions asked.


More than anything: congratulations. Congratulations on completing high school, or college. Congratulations on showing up for yourself and your education. Congratulations on being the leaders of your generation and champions of a better future. May you go on to do great things, safe, sober and alive with joy.

Recovery School

School: Getting Back in the Groove

Even without addiction issues, going back to school can be a bear. Going from middle school to high school is a huge shift, but more often than not, you’re not away from home. However, the shift from high school to college can be huge, especially if going to college means living on your own. All of a sudden the safety of any parental input (no matter how annoying it may be) is gone–trust me when I say this, you’ll eventually miss the family dinners you fought so hard to get out of.
There are a few things to keep in mind when going back to school, particularly when most schools and colleges are starting and our nerves are shaking. If we’re newly sober, then the heat is really on, particularly when we’re going back to our old stomping grounds.
  • Stay connected with your sponsor and others in sobriety. 
  • Set firm boundaries with old friends that may be weary of the new you. If they want you to “hang out” like you used to before you “went away,” say no. Real friends won’t try to drag you down. 
  • Maintain open communication, not only with your sponsor and friends, but with your parents and therapists as well. Recovery is a net: if you weave a wide enough web, you are more apt to create an environment of emotional and physical safety. 
  • Develop a healthy exercise program. Sometimes, a good run or a long bike ride can clear a muddled mind. This is a great area to create a buddy system. If you don’t do it one day, you didn’t fail! 
  • Make realistic goals. You don’t have to do everything at once. 
  • Remember to be kind to your body: just because you’re sober doesn’t mean you can start poisoning your system with junk food. 
  • HALT: never get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired 
  • Show up no matter what. You’re not only showing up for others, you’re showing up for yourself and your sobriety.
The reality is, school can be frightening: the newness, the change, and the idea of venturing into the unknown. Taking things one breathe at a time is key to survival. Sleep is your friend, cry if you need to, and ask for help. Everything is going to be okay!Resources:
Angels at Risk
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