Follow these to maintain your alcohol-consciousness during this joyful time of the year.
“One reason I don’t drink is that I want to know when I am having a good time.” — Lady Astor
Stuff turkey with fixings, corporate parties, and booze almost everywhere you turn.
Most people love the holiday times because it’s so festive with holiday work parties and family get-togethers. It can also be equally as stressful and scary because of the alcohol-induced situations that some of these events can create.
I’m sure we all have more than one or two stories of seeing someone getting in a fight at a work holiday party after getting sauced up or ourselves waking up the next morning after said holiday party wondering if we really made out with “Susan from accounting” because we happen to be standing under the mistletoe together.
While it would be nice to just ignore these parties and stay in your little bubble and not partake, that just doesn’t work when this can be the only time of the year to see family and loved ones, as well as celebrate accomplishments with co-workers.
For that reason, I wanted to share the top five strategies that you can implement to ensure you maintain your alcohol-consciousness during this period and still enjoy all the glory of this great time of the year.
Make sure you have a holiday party buddy
If you are going to go to a number of different work or friend parties, bring an AC (alcohol-conscious) friend to go with you.
This person doesn’t have to commit to no longer drinking like you did, but this person should have made the decision to do it at least for this event with you.
When you bring a friend who drinks, unfortunately, they can quickly forget the partnership that you two decided on in the midst of slurping down their third gin and tonic.
Therefore, you need someone who is going to stay sober and clear-headed to have a non-alcohol-induced conversation with and whom you know won’t judge you for being the only person at the event not drinking.
This way you’ll have someone to laugh with when people make that turn from a little tipsy to drunk off their a**es, and the night begins to get really interesting.
Get ready to drink A LOT of diet or club soda
As shared in a previous post, one of the best ways to help your body calm down and feel comfortable in an environment in which you were used to drinking is to have some type of non-alcoholic beverage in your hand at all times.
You’ll be surprised at how much more comfortable this will make you feel and even somewhat trick yourself into not realizing that you are not drinking alcohol.
The feel of the glass in your hand, along with the cool wetting of your tongue and throat with whatever non-alcoholic beverage you decide (Coke Zero or club soda with a splash of cranberry are two of my personal favorites) will feel so normal to your body that you will sometimes even begin to feel like you’re drinking alcohol when you’re not.
This, in turn, can allow you to have a very good time without having to drink anything at all. This is when many people begin to realize the lie they told themselves when they were drinking.
While they used to think alcohol brought out the fun-natured side of them, it was in them all along. The atmosphere just created it, and their practice of drinking alcohol was just part of that habitual ritual.
As long as you can replace that alcohol with something else you enjoy while you’re doing it, your body will naturally respond and create the feeling of joy and excitement that you were used to in the past.
Coke Zero to the rescue!
Host events at your house to ensure you have a selection of drinks to choose from
To ensure you’re not in a situation in which there are no options for you to drink something other than water (not bad, but it helps to have something that you enjoy drinking just like you would alcohol), one possible option is to host events at your home.
By hosting parties at your place, you can ensure that the atmosphere does not have to be one in which alcohol is the primary focus of the night. You can make it an alcohol-free party and focus on a number of different games and activities that will make it still enjoyable without this.
While I wouldn’t advise this, some people might decide to include alcohol for their guests to drink. If you do choose this, you will just want to make sure you’re further enough on your journey that this wouldn’t be a problem for you, as having a lot of leftover alcohol in your house could be a bit too tempting for the newly sober.
One possible solution is to make the party a BYOB to ensure everyone takes whatever they brought with them since everyone will know you don’t drink.
This way you wouldn’t have to worry about being tempted by any remaining alcohol and could save yourself a bit of disposal work at the same time — an extra benefit!
Bring your own drinks if hosting isn’t an option
If you’re like me and my wife and not big on hosting parties at your place, then another possible solution is to BYOD (bring your own drink) when you go to other people’s parties.
This has been a lifesaver for us, as sometimes people will only have full-sugared sodas or juice as options for people who desire to not drink alcohol, and this is not really the best solution either.
Therefore, when we are going to someone’s house party, we always try to bring the customary gift for the entire group to enjoy and a few drinks that we like to ensure we are covered.
Upon arriving, we let the host know what we brought for the entire group versus what we specifically bought for ourselves to ensure we have something that we will like. Most hosts are extremely appreciative of this, as you can never quite be sure what someone likes if they don’t drink alcohol.
This is just one less thing that they have to worry about as the host for the night and everyone wins.
Stay just long enough to enjoy your family, celebrate, or reconnect but be prepared to leave early if needed
This last tip is pretty straightforward but very important for one to do if needed.
If the event becomes too much for you, and you find yourself lamenting why you can’t have a drink or how you wish you could, then it is probably time to leave.
It will all depend on where you are on your journey, but weak moments can happen, especially when the decision is relatively recent. It is important if we are experiencing second guesses or doubts to remove ourselves from that situation as quickly as possible.
If you logically think through it and decide that you are willing to accept the consequences of drinking short-term and long-term (what we call drinking alcohol consciously), then that’s fine, but you don’t want to make this decision when you are emotionally affected due to your environment.
Removing yourself from this situation is important. Afterward, when you are more clear-headed and not overtaken by being emotionally charged, you can then decide what is best for your future.
Often, once this moment has passed, you’ll be surprised at how much more control you have over your thinking and the idea of drinking goes back to seeming as bad as it did when you originally made the decision to stop drinking.
And while I can’t promise this won’t cause you to have to leave more than a few parties earlier than you may have in the past, at least you’ll get home knowing that your commitment to building the best version of yourself is still intact and you didn’t kiss anyone you can’t remember under a mistletoe.