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,
Did you know September is National Recovery Month?In honor of this, I’d like to use it as a platform to bring more awareness to the continue struggle with Alcoholism that so many of my clients face.
Are you, or someone you love struggling to quit drinking? Does quitting seemed like a monumental endeavor that you will never accomplish? What if you took it day by day, and celebrate the small victories? This month, I hope to share strategies and tips with my fellow readers. I work with clients who struggle with this and many other addictions. I have witnessed first hand, the devastating effects this addiction has on family, friends and loved ones. So let’s dive in.
An estimated 6.5 million adults took part in Dry January in 2021. If you’ve missed out on making it one of your new year’s resolutions, you can still celebrate a similar occasion any time of year. While some adults need to avoid alcohol completely, others may prefer a more gradual approach. For them, a British charity group helped start a movement in 2014 to quit drinking for a month after the winter holidays. Many participants say that it has helped them to transform their relationship with alcohol.
Look at what a month without margaritas, or your drink of choice can do for you.
Benefits of Giving Up Alcohol for a Month
Clinical research on Dry January is very limited, but the initial results are promising. Even short-term abstinence can have positive effects on your overall health and wellbeing.
- Sleep well. You’ll probably wake up feeling more refreshed. Alcohol interferes with the quality of your sleep, so this is one of the most common and quickest results.
- Feel healthier. There can be significant health benefits. One study found that a month off alcohol decreased blood pressure by 5% and lowered diabetes risk by 30%. There were also large decreases in blood growth factors linked to certain cancers.
- Lose weight. It’s easy to lose track of how many calories you drink. You may wind up slimmer without even trying to eat less.
- Drink more responsibly. The big question is whether a month without alcohol will lead to lasting changes. According to one survey, Dry January participants drank less frequently and drank less per day for months afterwards.
Tips for Quitting or Cutting Back on Drinking
As you might expect, Dry January fans use many of the same methods that can help anyone to curb their alcohol consumption. Listed below are a few examples of proven strategies.
- Pick a date. Having specific goals and a timeline will help you to feel more committed and accountable. Maybe you’ll want to join the crowd in January, or maybe another month is more feasible for you.
- Cope with triggers. Be prepared for situations that tend to make you want to drink. Suggest going to a movie instead of visiting a bar on date nights. Relax after work with a walk in the park rather than sitting down with a glass of wine.
- Seek support. Ask others for the help you need. Let your family and friends know what you’re doing and what they can do to make it easier.
- Manage peer pressure. Rehearse how you’ll respond in situations where others may encourage you to drink. If someone refuses to respect your choices, you may want to limit your interactions with them at least temporarily.
- Prepare for relapses. What if you give in to temptation at a wedding or a barbecue? Learn from the experience and give yourself credit for getting back on track the next day.
- Stay busy. You’re less likely to miss alcohol if you keep your mind and body occupied with other activities. Spend more time at the gym or working on hobbies. Take a course at your local community college or volunteer at a food bank.
- Practice self-care. Maybe you’ll feel inspired to try other healthy lifestyle changes. Eat more vegetables and start a daily self-care practice.
- See your doctor. Quitting alcohol for a month is safe for most adults. However, if you’re dependent on alcohol, you’ll need medical care to help. Your doctor can help you understand your options and provide you with resources.
Giving up drinking for a month could be the start of a healthier relationship with alcohol. Let it encourage you to drink in moderation or seek professional help if alcohol is disrupting your relationships and the quality of your life. For more information on recovery, please visit this US Government Website
To Your Success,