Sober Celebrations

Sober Celebrations

Tips for Substance Abusers at Holiday Parties

The upcoming holidays are a time for celebrating with family and friends. For people who choose not to drink or use drugs, navigating holiday parties can be challenging. Thankfully, many ways exist to enjoy these gatherings without feeling uncomfortable or pressured to drink. For many the celebrations have a religious theme and will not include temptations. Take advantage of these get-togethers to reinforce your belief in your higher power. Join the after-the-occasion fellowship to broaden your circle of friends.

Actions before the party:

For the Substance Abuser:

Be honest with yourself, consider whether you’ll feel comfortable attending a party where alcohol or drugs will be served. If you are in early recovery or find social drinking triggering, it will be perfectly okay to decline. It’s not worth sacrificing your hard work to get this far. Your health and well-being come first.

If you do go, have a plan on how you will respond when offered an alcoholic drink. Practice your refusal beforehand so you can deliver it confidently and politely. You might say “No thanks, I’m good”, “I’m the designated driver tonight“, or “Oh, no thanks. I’m not drinking alcohol right now”. These will not offend your host and saying it confidently will prevent future offers.

Invite a friend who will also abstain from alcohol or who will support your decision not to use. Having a sober companion can provide moral support and help you navigate social situations. Making a commitment to yourself and a friend will be a reminder of the value of staying sober.

Before you leave a home prepare non-alcoholic drinks. Bring your favorite sparkling water, mocktails, or zero-proof cocktails. Having something festive to sip on can make you feel more comfortable and included. Having a glass in your hand will give you extra power to refuse alcoholic drinks and as the party progresses will reduce the offers of having a drink. Simply lift your glass to your lips, showing that you already have something to drink.

Decide how long you want to stay and how you’ll get home. This will help you avoid feeling pressured to stay longer than you’re comfortable with. When the time comes for you to leave simply say “Great party, but I have a big day planned for tomorrow”.

For Hosts:

Offer a variety of non-alcoholic beverages.  In consideration of your friends that choose not to drink, include sparkling water, mocktails, fruit juices, and other festive options.  This avoids any awkward moments and demonstrates what a great host you are.

Food can help to reduce cravings and prevent individuals from feeling overly hungry, which can trigger substance use.  Have plenty of food available.

A thoughtful host is aware of triggers that could cause a guest to want to use drugs or alcohol.   Some holiday traditions or decorations may trigger cravings for individuals in recovery. Be mindful of this and offer alternative activities or spaces.

Hosts should have a plan for emergencies, if you are concerned about a guest’s substance use, have a plan for how to intervene safely and respectfully. This may involve talking to the guest privately, providing them with resources, or asking them to leave the party.

Consider hosting an alcohol-free party. This can create a more inclusive environment for everyone, including individuals in recovery, pregnant women, and those who simply choose not to drink alcohol.

At the party:

Stick to your plan. When offered a drink, politely decline and stick to your non-alcoholic beverage. Repeat your prepared refusals as needed.

Focus on connecting with others: Engage in conversations with friends and family. Focus on enjoying their company and the festive atmosphere. This may be a new skill, in the past you may have focused on drinking or getting high. Make the most of this opportunity.

Keep yourself busy. Mingle with others, participate in games or activities, or help yourself to the food. Staying active will help you avoid awkward situations and temptation.

Take breaks. If you start feeling overwhelmed, take a short break from the festivities. Find a quiet space to relax and recharge.

Remember your reasons for avoiding drugs or alcohol. Remind yourself why you choose not to drink. Keeping your goals in mind will help you stay motivated and avoid temptation.

Additional tips:

Be honest and upfront with your host.  If you feel comfortable, let the host know in advance that you won’t be drinking alcohol.  They may be able to offer you alternative non-alcoholic beverages or if you are bringing your own beverage let them know.

Set boundaries with the other party-goers.  If someone persists in pressuring you to drink, politely but firmly set a boundary.  You can say something like, “I appreciate your offer but I have decided not to drink tonight.”

Don’t beat up on yourself.  Don’t feel pressured to explain yourself or justify your decision to anyone.  Remember, you have the right to choose not to drink alcohol or use and you shouldn’t feel short changed or obligated to do otherwise.

Follow these tips and enjoy your holiday season and festive gatherings without feeling pressured to drink.  Remember, the most important thing is to do what feels right for you and to take care of your health and well-being. 

Have fun!

Recenter Takes the Long View

Recenter Takes the Long View

1. Why recovering substance abusers need long term support

Substance abuse (alcoholism and drug addiction) is a significant illness that affect millions of people globally. Many people struggling with them may feel like they are alone and helpless. Knowing that long-term support is part of a recovery program makes participants more confident. Extended support can provide the necessary assistance, guidance, and encouragement to overcome substance abuse. Recenter has specific programs that provide long term assistance (see the website section on What We Do.)

Recovery from substance abuse is a long road

Photo 131880181 © Photoking |

2. What is substance abuse?

Substance abuse is a chronic condition that affects a person’s physical, psychological, and social well-being. It can lead to various health problems, including liver damage, cognitive impairment, and social isolation. Different chemicals damage the body in different ways. Some can cause the onset of cancer. If injected frequently, drugs can cause vein collapse and significantly increase the risk of HIV and hepatitis. The cycle of substance abuse can make it challenging for individuals to quit using without support, leading to a prolonged struggle.

Recenter assigns a new resident to a building called “The Dorm” which has a communal living environment with some newcomers and some old timers in large rooms. The old timers and the house leader keep an eye on those new to the program. These are not people involved with the management of Recenter.  They are peers of those newly arrived and their conversations are confidential.

3. The Importance of Support in Recovery

Support is essential for recovery, as it provides an opportunity for an individual to tell the truth about their life – a freedom they may not have experienced for a long time. Long-term support can help people feel accountable and encouraged to stay on track.

4. The Challenges of Early Recovery

Early recovery is one of the most challenging phases of overcoming substance abuse. Quitting drinking and using drugs can be physically painful and emotionally draining, leading to intense withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, depression, and cravings. However, with the right support, it is possible to overcome these challenges and continue on the path to recovery.

The first few days and weeks of recovery are often the most difficult, as individuals try to adjust to life without alcohol or drugs. This can be a time of great uncertainty and discomfort as well as relief, as individuals learn how to cope with stress and anxiety in new and healthy ways.

Long-term support can be particularly helpful during this phase of recovery. For example, attending support groups such as 12-step meetings or SMART Recovery can provide individuals with a sense of community and belonging, as well as access to others who have gone through similar experiences.  Recenter residents volunteer to be sponsors and are particularly helpful and attentive to the newcomers during this time.  Additional therapy and counseling can help individuals work through their underlying issues and develop coping strategies to manage cravings and triggers.

It’s important to remember that recovery is a journey.  Sobriety must be practiced and lived.  Setbacks are a natural part of the process. With the right support, 60% of substance abusers can overcome the challenges of early recovery and continue on the path to a healthy and fulfilling life.

5. The Benefits of Long-Term Support

Long-term support can provide a multitude of benefits for those struggling with substance abuse. Ongoing therapy and counseling can help individuals address the root causes of addiction and learn coping mechanisms to avoid relapse. Just knowing that Recenter’s program includes long-term support can also help individuals achieve long-term sobriety.

6. Types of Long-Term Support

Various types of long-term support are available to help individuals overcome substance abuse. Support groups like 12-Step Meetings provide peer support and guidance are held 42 times per week on the Recenter campus so all residents can attend at a convenient time.

Therapy with a Psychologist is recommended as it provides personalized support. Soon after a new residents arrives Recenter staff members, working with the resident, will develop a Life Map that makes sure all recovery counseling, medical service and prescriptions, employment, and education needs can be met for those that are ready to work their program. Plans for reuniting with family will follow. Continued sponsor involvement can help individuals stay on track and avoid relapse.

a. Recovery Counseling – We have Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Interns (LCDCI’s) on staff who provide our clients with recovery counseling services like a recovery plan, a relapse prevention plan and a plan to pursue during and post-recovery life goals.

b. Medical needs – Recenter will provide the resident a Homeless Letter certifying that they are enrolled and eligible for care and medication. Private and county-funded medical facilities are within walking distance or via Metro which runs in front of Recenter. Medical doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists are available as well prescriptions. Services and prescriptions are free or available at a drastically reduced rate.

c. Employment – If possible, Recenter encourages all residents to be employed, volunteering or looking for a job. Some jobs are available on campus. We also have a list of outside employment agencies who have paid work for our residents on a temporary, seasonal or permanent basis.

d. Education – Residents are urged to get their High School Equivalency if they did not complete High School. There is a HCC campus within walking distance for that as well as college level courses. The LCDCI’s are available to advise residents through their education planning.

Staying engaged in useful work as well as long-term support is crucial to maintaining sobriety. Individuals should strive to stay motivated, set goals, and continue their participation in all these endeavors.

7. The Importance of a Supportive Environment

Family and friends can play a significant role in supporting an individual’s recovery. Building a supportive environment can provide the necessary encouragement and accountability needed to maintain sobriety. Conversely, a non-supportive environment can make it challenging for individuals to overcome addiction.

8. Overcoming Common Obstacles in Long-Term Support

Negative self-talk, resistance to change, and setbacks are common obstacles individuals may face in recovery. Strategies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and developing positive self-talk can help individuals overcome these obstacles and maintain sobriety.

9. Celebrating Success in Recovery

Recognizing milestones and celebrating success in recovery is essential to staying committed and motivated. Individuals should acknowledge and celebrate their progress to maintain their focus and dedication to overcoming substance abuse.

10. Conclusion

Long-term support is crucial for individuals struggling with substance abuse to overcome addiction and achieve long-term sobriety. The various types of support available, including peer support groups, therapy, and living a sober lifestyle can provide individuals with the necessary resources to stay on track. By building a supportive environment and staying engaged in long-term support, individuals can overcome common obstacles and celebrate their success in recovery.


Steven Brinkman

Mayfest Celebrated at Recenter

Mayfest Celebrated at Recenter

end of the motorcycle ride


May 6th was a warm and beautiful spring day.  Everyone enjoyed being outside and joining in the fellowship.  Thirty five riders took part in the motorcycle ride on Saturday morning.

More than two hundred fifty residents and friends relaxed and enjoyed Recenter’s Mayfest.




A tasty barbecue lunch featured pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, potato salad, and sausage links. Our favorite disk jockeys kept the music coming.

A Time to Celebrate

We at Recenter look at Mayfest as a time to celebrate our progress on the way to overcoming addiction. We scheduled three AA meetings during our celebration. Those who wanted to attend a meeting found it convenient to attend one of these.  Hosting forty AA meetings a week is a part of the long term care we offer.

Old-timers gathered to remember the camaraderie they built as they worked to beat our disease. Current Recenter residents recognize that it is not something that you can achieve overnight. Attaining sobriety is a long-term endeavor, one that is made much easier with long-term support. Mayfest allows us to express our thankfulness for receiving that support.

Long-term care and support is a key feature that differentiates Recenter from other recovery organizations. Those fighting the disease can stay as long as two years while working on becoming addiction free. We help residents find jobs and our fees are low enough to make living here affordable.

So with this celebration over, we begin looking forward to another bigger and better Mayfest next year.

We thank our sponsors who helped contribute to another successful Mayfest.

Mayfest at Recenter

Mayfest at Recenter

Mayfest is a special time of the year when people celebrate spring and the coming of summer.  From carnivals to music festivals, there are countless opportunities to get out and enjoy the warm weather with friends and family. Mayfest will be a fantastic day for food, entertainment, raffles, and AA speaker meetings.  Come join us for a day of fellowship and fun for the whole family.  It’s Recenter’s spring thing to do.

WHEN:  May 6, 2023 – 11:00 to 4:00

WHERE:  Recenter, 3809 Main Street, Houston 77002

WHAT:  Games, food, a chance to celebrate recovery

All proceeds will support The Family Afterward Program, created to help many families affected by Substance Use Disorders.

Recenter Activities

Three AA speakers will host meetings at 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00.
Games are planned for the kids.
Our DJ will be playing your music and line dancing is likely to break out.
Raffles will be scheduled throughout the day, be sure to sign up.

Special Morning Activity: A motorcycle ride from Mancuso Harley-Davidson’s Location (12710 Crossroads Parks Drive, Houston) to Recenter, escorted by The Houston Police Department.

Motorcycle rides with a police escort are a unique and thrilling experience. It involves riding in a convoy of motorcycles, escorted by police officers. During the ride, riders will get to experience the thrill of riding in close formation with the police officers providing protection and guidance throughout the journey. It’s an opportunity to enjoy some fresh air and scenery while also feeling safe and secure knowing that you have the protection of law enforcement personnel nearby.

Motorcycle ride registration will occur on the day of the ride. (You can register early by using the QR code on the flyer below and save some money.) Free breakfast for ride participants will be served starting at 9:00 and the ride will leave promptly at 10:30. Participants must be 18 years or older and sign a waiver.


Mayfest is a day when we welcome residents, neighbors, and anyone with an interest in advocating for recovery.  Come visit us and see what we are all about.

We have games and entertainment for the kids and what’s a picnic without food?  We will be serving barbecue.

We want to thank our sponsors listed below and invite anyone interested in recovery from Substance Use Disorders to make a donation.  Just click DONATE NOW on the button in the top right above.

Blanket Drive Results

Blanket Drive Results

We concluded our blanket drive with Mancuso’s Harley Davidson on December 22nd, just two days before the freezing weather hit the Houston area.  We received forty-eight blankets that we put to use immediately.  Some of our residents live in older buildings and they were especially happy to have some new blankets to sleep under.

Blankets for Recenter residents

New Blankets Arriving Just in Time

There’s nothing better on a cold winter’s night than a warm blanket to keep you warm.  Thanks to Mancuso’s for helping with this project.

donated blankets