Dry January: How to Avoid Drinking in Social Situations

Have you ever noticed how a majority of social settings occur where alcohol is also present? 

They’re like two peas in a pod. You barely have one without the other. Alcohol is often referred to as a social lubricant, something that takes the edge off of socializing in a large group. Maybe you’re an introvert and alcohol aids you in becoming more outgoing. Maybe you’re an extrovert who relies on drinking to blend in with the crowd.

So, how do you avoid the pressure of drinking when you’re out on the town with your partner, going on a first date, or having a friends night out? Here are my tips to avoid caving into social pressure.

Order a Mocktail!

Who said those fun little drinks that come with an umbrella have to contain alcohol? Omit the alcohol and feel included at the same time!

Put a plan in place

You already know people will ask why you aren’t drinking. They may even ask if you’re pregnant. If you know you’re not drinking, go in with a plan and stick to it all night long. Knowing what you want to order in advance, and having some prepared responses at your disposal when questioned, will help you stay true to you. 

Here are a few ideas of things you can say if you’re worried about finding yourself in this situation:

  1. Tell them you’re focused on clean eating. It’s totally normal to cut back on carbs and sugar (hello, alcohol) when you’re trying to clean up your diet. 
  2. You’re trying the “no alcohol challenge”.. Social media is filled with all kinds of challenges, so let them know you’re doing the “no alcohol challenge” for a week. 
  3. Offer to be the designated driver or say you are one. If you know you won’t be driving, an alternative is telling your friends you’re focusing on your fitness or training for an event. They can’t argue with that. 

Know it’s not about you!

Do you have a hard time saying no when someone offers you a drink? Social pressure is ubiquitous and can be very hard to handle. People want others to do what they’re doing. Oftentimes, when someone decides not to, it feels personal. They may wonder, “What’s wrong with what I’m doing? Why won’t they do it, too?” In essence, social pressure isn’t about you at all, it’s about them!

Cultivating a healthy body & mind

A lot of people use alcohol as a coping mechanism, or as a way to fit in in social situations. Maybe you’re drinking more than you’d like to be, waking up with fuzzy headaches, or forgetting the past nights’ events. Maybe you don’t drink often, but when you do, you lose control.

Maybe you've had some uncomfortable, or costly situations that have happened because of drinking and you know you should stop for your own good. You don’t want to make a mistake (as a result of drinking).... that could sabotage a great opportunity for you, such as landing a new job promotion, establishing meaningful new connections, or meeting the love of your life.

And if you've already made a mistake like that, know there is always redemption. 

Take a breath. This is part of human life, and where The Hip Sobriety Project comes in. Maybe you’re not an alcoholic and don’t need AA, but do want to get a handle on your drinking. Check out this 8-week sobriety school and group coaching program to live your best life.

There’s no shame in asking for help! Forgiving yourself is the first step in self-care and emotional wellness.