Dr. Willenbring Discusses Socializing Sober

  Mark Willenbring, MD, is Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Annum Health. 

Mark Willenbring, MD, is Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Annum Health. 

In a recent article with Vice's Tonic, Annum's Chief Clinical Officer shares his expertise on navigating social situations when you're changing your relationship with alcohol: 

"Planning ahead is crucial, and if a situation is likely to be high risk, it’s absolutely fine for the plan to simply be to opt out, says Mark Willenbring, who led the Division of Treatment and Recovery Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism from 2004 to 2009 and was responsible for overseeing research on alcohol use disorder at universities around the United States. Otherwise, every plan should include an escape plan. 'If you’re feeling more than a little tempted, immediately leave,' he says. 'There’s no advantage to testing your willpower.'
At several points during early sobriety, you’re probably going to get asked why you’re not drinking. Willenbring recommends having a quick phrase at the ready, such as, 'I just find I feel better if I don’t drink.' Boom. 'If someone is persistent, consider replying, ‘Does my not drinking make you uncomfortable?’ he adds. 'My patients have found that usually ends this line of inquiry quickly and respectfully.' If that doesn’t work, or if you feel under pressure from friends to drink, this is the point where you have to question those relationships.'"

Read the full piece from Vice here.