First of all, pause. Look around the event and notice if everyone is actually drinking alcohol. Not everyone drinks all the time!

1. Focus on the people, conversations, connections, activities, place, event, instead of alcohol! 

2. Always have something to drink in your hand. Water, soda, juice, or a fun mocktail.

3. The less you shine a spotlight on and talk about not drinking, the less others will notice that you’re not drinking. Most people don’t care, or notice what you’re drinking. Don’t take my word for it, test it out for yourself, you’ll be shocked. If there are people in your life who truly harass you for not drinking, you might want to reconsider why and how much time you continue to spend with those people.  

4. Have your response ready if anyone asks, “I’m committed to a 90-day health challenge right now and I’ve been feeling great, I’m not going to break my streak.” Or whatever words work for you. Most people will admire you (even silently wish they could do the same) and think it’s cool that you’re so resolute in your healthy decision.

5. Unless everyone you hang out truly drinks alcoholically, which 1.) generally isn’t the case, and 2.) if they really drink themselves into total oblivion or badger you about not drinking, why go? Let alone hang around people like that?

If going to an event or a gathering is an excuse for you to drink and you know you can’t abstain, don’t go!

If there’s fun, conversation, connection, experience, change of scenery, rest or relaxation to be had, then go. Enjoy!

For more on this topic: Listen to Episode 10, Socializing Without Alcohol on the “Editing Our Drinking and Our Lives” Podcast with Aidan Donnelley Rowley and Jolene Park.