Socialize without alcohol?!
Whether we like it or not, socializing often seems to involve alcohol.
For tips on how to maintain a fun, healthy social life if alcohol is not in the picture.
Drinking is one of only a few things I’ve experienced where one can feel judgment or questioning by peers both for choosing to drink AND for choosing not to drink.
I enjoy a glass (or two) of wine sometimes. I remember being out with a friend one night when someone came up to me in shock asking why I would be drinking as “a healthy person”. I immediately felt shame and confusion.
I follow the 80/20 principle for health, and have found an overall good balance for my body with alcohol. Sometimes, I've embarked on a month or longer breaks from alcohol.
I remember one time, things were going well until I attended a birthday dinner and was hard questioned by many well-meaning friends as to why I wasn’t drinking. I also felt shame that my decision not to drink made others uncomfortable.
Have you ever experienced a situation like this before? Some people choose not to imbibe for health reasons, others for personal preference and others because of an addiction.
No matter the reason, if you’re curious about how to enjoy a full social life without alcohol, here are a few tips for your transition:
Be upfront and rally the support of the person/people you’re with. By showing your excitement for the positive change and asking for their help in supporting you, you will get more love than questions or resistance. Build out your support team!
Invite friends to cook together and try out new recipes that match your eating style!
Suggest alternative venues to meet – with the beautiful fall weather, can you meet at a park? Go for a walk instead of a wine bar meeting? Go bowling? Do a workout class together instead of dancing in a night club? Mix it up with location or activity. Get creative!
If you’re going out for dinner or drinks, planning ahead with where you want to go and what you want to order will keep you on the straight and narrow (don’t try to make a decision when you’re already hungry, thirsty or tired!) Alternatively, eat a small snack beforehand so your hunger doesn’t overcome willpower.
My go-to order when I’m not drinking is soda waters with a dash of bitters. I love the taste and the convenient of appearance of a vodka-soda keeps away people from questioning.
Be very clear with yourself and others that the IDENTITY part of a change is key. You are not “not really drinking” or “trying this out”. That is what you ARE. You ARE a healthy, happy, confident person who is choosing not to drink.
I recommend you listen to this podcast (https://podbay.fm/podcast/451295014/e/1462561260) from James Swanwick, a seasoned expert in 30-day no drinking challenges. His approach is compelling no matter who you are or what your goals may be.