Although for many of us, socializing with friends over a couple drinks is the norm, for others alcohol is either not a crucial part of having fun or abstained from for other reasons. With holiday season approaching, it’s important to know that you CAN survive without alcohol. Stressful family situations and numerous parties can make the task seem daunting, but there are several easy ways to get through them sober.
These tips are for both those struggling with alcohol issues as well as those who desire to avoid alcohol for health or diet reasons. Some apply to both, while some may only be applicable to one group, but all in all they should help you realize that you can enjoy the holidays without the booze if you so choose!
Avoiding alcohol can seem daunting if it’s something you usually drink and especially if others know you do. Letting someone know allows you to have a support system in case you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
If they’re able to be with you at the gathering, you can either spend safe time with them or you know you can approach them if you start having a tough time. If you’ll be solo at an event, have someone you can call if you start to feel uncomfortable.
Identify your triggers
Think about a party or get-together. Now think about situations that could come up that would potentially trigger you to want to drink. This could be being around a certain type of alcohol, interacting with someone you don’t particularly get along with, simply being in a social situation, or any number of possibilities.
Triggers are different for everyone, so make sure to identify yours in order to avoid them.
Make a plan
Once you’ve told someone and you know what could potentially trigger you to drink, figure out a plan for how to avoid those things. Know what you’re going to do if someone offers you a drink. Know what you’re going to do if someone asks you to hold their drink. What if you start to be triggered?
Social settings can be unpredictable so it’s important to have all your bases covered before going into those situations.
Carry your own glass
Having your own glass near you allows you to control what is inside it and also stops many people from trying to give you a drink.
Say “No Thanks”
Often, when drinking is a normal part of life for a person, the thought of being around alcohol in a social setting (and saying no) can be daunting. “People won’t understand!” “I can’t say no!” “They’ll shun me!”
Realistically, as time goes on and you begin to experience life without alcohol, it becomes more evident that no one really cares if you say no. There may be a couple people who ask follow up questions about why, but all you have to do is say “I’m not drinking tonight.” There may be another reason you’re more comfortable with, such as “I’m driving” if you are, and you certainly don’t have to go into details you’re not comfortable digressing.
Excuse yourself if necessary
Sometimes, as hard as you might try, it may become too uncomfortable at some point. Remember to listen to your body and your mind and don’t force yourself to be a martyr in those types of situations.
Making a dramatic lifestyle change can be scary, but just as with any change, knowing how to handle it is the most important part.