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Should You Avoid Nightclubs, Hookah Bars, and Concerts in Early Recovery?


In early recovery is it a good idea to go out of your way to shake your groove thing? I personally believe that sobriety is such a gift because of the freedom that comes with working a program of action and spiritual growth, and that we do not get sober to hide from the world. However, while it is important to have fun in sobriety, there is still some speculation here and there as to if you should avoid going places like nightclubs, hookah bars, and concerts where there may be some temptations, especially for those in early recovery. Take this opportunity to consider each of these examples.

Before we get started I’ll issue a disclaimer that if your sponsor says something different, they are probably right, so feel free to disagree.

The Pros

I have heard it said that motion creates emotion, and you want to put yourself in a position to burn some positive energy. Going to a hookah bar, nightclub or a concert can definitely give you a chance to enjoy life on a different level. Live music, dancing, and lounging are all great ways to get out of your shell, shake off the baggage of the day, and give yourself an opportunity to experience new things and make the most out of some free time. Going out to these events can:

  • Improve your social skills
  • Connect you with new people
  • Inspire your individuality
  • Relieve stress
  • Improve your outlook

The Cons 

As fun as it is to go out, sobriety is a precious and delicate gift, especially in the beginning. So going to a nightclub, hookah bar, or concert is not always the kind of risk you should be taking if you’re brand new to recovery. If you have not started working with a sponsor, it is definitely not the best move because they will be able to advise you better than I can in this article. People in early recovery should definitely know that they won’t be expected to never go out anywhere, but it is typically recommended that if you feel impressionable, you should not want to take the unnecessary risk. Going to these venues sometimes includes temptations like:

  • Bars serving alcohol
  • Casual drug use
  • People who may try to influence you
  • Other risky behaviors and relationships

Solution and Strategy

What constitutes ‘early recovery’ may be different for some people, and in the end it depends on where you are in your sobriety as an individual. I know I personally did not put myself in any type of unnecessary compromising position until I had been sober for months and was actively progressing through a 12 Step program. The best strategy I know for going to any of these places is pretty simple.

  • I ask my sponsor
  • I check my motives
  • I go with people with more sobriety than me

If I can honestly say that my motives are aligned with my beliefs in practicing spiritual principles and maintaining my sobriety, than I do not hesitate to do things socially. In early sobriety I was tempted on some occasions to go see a band or go lounging at the hookah bar, but I did not really need to go to a nightclub or a concert because I knew the only event I needed to be at was a meeting until I had found a solution.

No recovery is perfect though, so always know that in order to keep yourself from falling into back into old behavior you should make sure you are in fit spiritual condition. If you’re new, ask your sponsor. If you don’t have a sponsor, it’s probably a good idea you skip ladies night at the nearest hot spot and hit a women’s meeting instead.

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