Early Sobriety: What to Say When You're Not Drinking
Staying Sober When Others Around You are Drinking
You've decided to stop drinking? Good for you! Whether or not you have used the label "alcoholic," to refer to your consumption of alcohol, giving up spirited beverages is a positive step towards good health.
In fact, many people choose not to drink for a variety of reasons. These include a desire for mental acuity, to achieve fitness goals, to lose weight, to address underlying medical conditions, to get pregnant, etc. Social drinking simply may not be enticing to them. Simply put, you will not be alone in your decision to give up alcohol.
If you are in early sobriety - no matter the basis for your decision - you'll want tips and tools for staying sober when others around you are drinking. The most important thing to remember is that its no body's business what is in your glass except you! In other words, if your friends and colleagues cannot "accept" that you've given up alcohol, then its time to find new people to hang out with!
Most People Won't Urge You to Drink - Some Will
Chances are, you have probably graduated from high school and are beyond the college years. Anyone over the age of 24 likely will not have any peer pressure to drink. And, if you are younger than that, there are plenty of social and academic organizations to which you can belong that do not condone or allow alcohol consumption.
Let's face it - once you are in your mid-20s or older, you need to make responsible decisions. A job, apartment, possibly even a significant other, pet or family means that frequent bouts of drinking, or alcohol binges do not fit into your life. Your peers are growing up, too, and most of them are making good choices as they establish careers and lay a good foundation for their lives. Its time to leave the partying and the partying crowd in the past.
The problem is that people that have alcohol addiction issues have generally surrounded themselves with people that also abuse the drug. These people will be threatened when you stop drinking and will urge you to drink and sabotage your efforts to stay sober.
I'm sorry to say, but you need to find new friends. Whether you join a group like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), or start attending worship more frequently or volunteer, get together with people with whom you can have fun without booze.
How to Stop Drinking Alcohol
What do you Say to People Asking Why You are Not Drinking Alcohol?
- I don't like the taste of alcohol
- I'm allergic to alcohol
- I'm on medication and cannot drink
- I'm having a great time without alcohol
- I'm trying to lose weight
- I feel great when I don't drink
- I'm training for ______ (a marathon, the Olympic trials, Man vs. Food...)
- We're planning a family
- I don't drink. Period.
Your First Social Outing in Early Sobriety
Its no one's business what is in your glass and, as noted above, most people will not care if you are drinking alcohol or not, unless your decision is threatening to them.
Recovery experts will advise those in early sobriety not to attend social functions unless and until you feel strong enough to withstand urges to consume alcohol. That time period will vary from individual to individual, but likely will not be any sooner than 30 days - the time period it takes to break old habits and start to ingrain new ones.
If you have simply made a lifestyle choice not to drink, you may feel more comfortable and secure in your decision and able to enjoy social outings sooner.
When you venture out for the first time, choose your venue carefully. Dancing and singing karaoke at your local watering hole is probably not a good idea. Attending a retirement party or wedding may be somewhat a better choice, depending on the other guests that are at the party. Consider your potential triggers and be sure to eat a protein-based meal and drink lots of water or other non-alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol is a Drug
Regardless of your reason for giving up drinking or your usual consumption habits, giving up alcohol will improve your health. We should all know this, but it bears repeating that alcohol is a drug. It is powerful and it acts as a depressant on your mood and nervous system.
Alcohol is addicting, but not everyone that drinks will become an alcoholic. However, if you find yourself craving drinks and making rules concerning when and how much you drink, you are starting to move from the category of "normal" drinker to one with a potential problem.
Why not nip it in the bud and stop drinking now before it impacts your life? You will be in great company. Many successful, powerful people do not drink at all. Those that are truly social drinkers do not drink by themselves and can easily stop at 1 or 2 drinks.
If you are otherwise healthy - choosing organic foods, exercising frequently, perhaps even following a vegetarian diet, it only makes sense that you go 100% drug free.
Give up alcohol and you won't regret it. Continue drinking and you might.
Wishing you all the best in early sobriety. If you know someone that might benefit from this article, be sure to "like" it on Facebook and forward the link to them!
Do You Know How Alcohol Affects You?
© 2011 Stephanie Hicks
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