With the holidays coming up parties are almost inevitable. You have friends throwing Halloween parties, huge Thanksgiving meals and Christmas get-togethers. All of these often having one thing in common- alcohol. As a newly sober person it is often quite difficult to be in an alcohol free zone while surfing through the holiday season. So here are 5 tips on maintaining your sobriety (and your sanity) while attending functions with alcohol.
1. Have An Exit Plan
You’ve already decided to go and decided what you are comfortable with. You know there will be alcohol there and that you don’t want to drink. But sometimes there can be situations that still cross the line and pushes you out of your comfort zone. Having an exit plan will keep you out of a hairy situation.
- Drive yourself: being stuck at a party with no way out can be crippling for an alcoholic. Being stuck at a lame Christmas dinner is crippling for everyone.
- If being accompanied: Have a code word or signal that lets them know you need to leave.
- If you feel embarrassed about your reason you are leaving: Have an excuse already loaded in the chamber. Alcoholism is nothing to be ashamed of- but it can still make you feel pretty awkward when you are the center of attention.
2. Have A Non-Drinking Ally.
Simply having another non-drinking buddy at a party can be a huge relief. Firstly, you don’t feel alone or alienated. Secondly, you can secretly mock the drunken tomfoolery. It’s also nice to have someone there who can relate to your situation.
3. Change Your Perspective on the Event
As alcoholics we like to think that every event revolves around drinking. I myself could definitely make any small event into a drinking outing. The movies, a walk in the park, work. But what really in the intent of the evening? Is it to get together and get hammered or is it an event to spend time with friends and family- and alcohol just happens to be there? Go there for the intent of the evening- not for the alcohol.
4. Always Have Something In Your Hands
One of the best deterrents to being asked if you want a drink is to already have something in your hand. Preferably something to eat or drink. Whether it be finger foods or a non-alcoholic drink. Sometimes people even want to give the allusion that they have an alcoholic drink in their hand- in which tonic & limes seem to do a great job. Something to snack on or sip on is also a great deterrent to cravings. Be sure to hit up the cookie bar!
5. Have Someone To Keep You Accountable
Having someone that knows you are in that situation and to keep you accountable to your sobriety is a great deterrent to accepting that drink that is offered to you. In my early sobriety I would text a friend saying I was entering a party and I would text them when I got home sober. I don’t think they really needed that text when I got home- but it gave us a small victory to celebrate. Accountability is key when entering these situations. Accountable to yourself, your sobriety and the people and reasons you got sober for.
Be safe this holiday season and remember: No one ever woke up wishing they had drunk the night before!