If you feel self-conscious about not drinking alcohol at personal and professional gatherings, it’s time to relax. There are many reasons why adults choose to forego the alcohol, including health issues, religious beliefs, and various individual preferences.
In fact, about one-third of adult Americans don’t drink any alcohol, and another third consume less than one alcoholic beverage per week, according to government figures. See how easy it is to have plenty of fun and friends without drinking.
What to Do About Drinking
If you’re struggling with alcohol dependence, seeking support will help you deal with serious issues that may come up during your recovery. Otherwise, a few practical strategies may be all you need to enjoy a party without cocktails.
- Fill your glass. Avoid awkward questions by keeping a drink in your hand or by your plate. Others will assume that you’ve been served.
- Bring your own. Most hosts are likely to offer nondrinkers more options than plain old tap water. Still, you can guarantee that your favorites will be on hand by presenting them with a bottle of limeade or a six-pack of non-alcoholic beer.
- Offer to drive. Save lives by volunteering to be the designated driver for the evening. Many bars will thank you by letting you drink for free.
- Eat something. Cocktails are easier to resist on a full stomach. Have a hearty meal or snack before you go out. Check out the buffet table or snack plates if you get hungry again.
- Look ahead. Boost your motivation by anticipating how fresh and alert you’ll feel in the morning. You may also have more money in your pocket when you give up drinking alcohol.
What to Do About Socializing
Maybe you drink because you feel it’s expected or because it’s easier for you to mingle. Below are some alternative ways to connect with family, friends, and business contacts.
- Talk it over. If your decision to quit drinking will be a major change, let your loved ones know how you feel. Discuss your hopes and concerns. Explain what kind of support you need.
- Rehearse your response. It’s up to you how much you want to tell strangers and acquaintances about your decision not to drink. If so, simple versions usually work best. Tell them you feel better without alcohol or you have to be up early in the morning.
- Prepare for small talk. Practice networking and hanging out without alcohol. Put together a few topics for conversation. Plus, if you show others that you’re interested in them, they’ll probably like anything you have to say.
- Arrive late. Time your arrival for when the party is reaching full swing. It will make it easier to feel festive and blend in.
- Help out. Looking for ways to assist others will take your focus off yourself. Ask your host if you can collect coats or peel lemons. Talk to a guest who’s asking for referrals for a local babysitter or car mechanic.
- Suggest other activities. Lots of places serve up entertainment without any alcohol. Go see a play or visit a science museum. Take a walk through a public garden or go hiking at your nearest mountain range.
- Make new friends. People who care about you will be happy to make any adjustments they can to support your decision. On the other hand, you might benefit from widening your circle to include more nondrinkers who want to go out for coffee or ice cream.
Advance planning and clear communications make it simple to socialize without alcohol. You can enjoy interesting conversations and entertaining activities just as much whether you fill your glass with champagne or cranberry juice. As a reminder, September is National Recovery Month, you will find helpful resources and links on SAMHSA.
To Your Success,