Let’s face it, in the real world, a lot of socialization revolves around social drinking – dinner with friends, dates, holiday parties, family celebrations and business functions. If you’ve struggled with alcohol addiction, you know how damaging that “one” can be.
The way we see it, you have basically three choices:
- Give in to the temptation and suffer the consequences.
- Become a hermit and avoid all socialization.
- Have a strategy that helps you cope with alcoholism in life after rehab.
We’re all about #3. And while life after addiction is not easy, having a coping strategy may be your best friend.
TIP #1: TELL PEOPLE YOU DON’T DRINK.
There used to be a stigma attached to those who didn’t drink. People who didn’t drink were shunned as anti-social or snobbish. That whole perception has been changing in recent years. Depending on your own demeanor and self-esteem, being totally up front may be your #1 strategy. If you’re not comfortable with this approach, be prepared with some other justification that is not so specific and revealing.
TIP #2: GO WITH A PERSON WHO WILL “BLOCK” FOR YOU.
If you’ve ever watched a football game, you know that even the best runners need good blockers. So do you. In a situation where there is social drinking, make sure there’s some there to clear the way between you and that one drink. This person understands you, alcoholism and your plan to cross the goal line.
TIP #3: FIND BIRDS OF A FEATHER.
Not everyone who goes to a bar or a party drinks. If you know in advance who’ll be present, try to focus on that group. Of course, it’s not likely that you can choose your friends, family members or business associates because they drink or don’t drink. Still, avoiding those folks who may drink – or drink to excess– isn’t a bad idea.
TIP #4: HAVE A COKE – NOT RUM AND COKE.
If you’re a bit self-conscious of not drinking in social situations, have a non-alcoholic drink that’s indistinguishable from an alcoholic one. No big deal. A tall glass of cola with a piece of lime and, voila, you’ve got a virgin Cuba libre (rum and Coke)!
TIP #5: BE THE BARTENDER.
“She doesn’t drink.” It’s a simple statement that can take on various meanings depending on tone and attitude. It can be appreciative or hurtful. If you’re concerned about perceptions of others, you can show them that you’re O.K. with drinking. It’s just not for you. By “being the bartender,” you might offer to buy a round of drinks or get some refills for others at a party. You can be social without drinking.
TIP #6: WHEN IN DOUBT, MAKE AN EARLY EXIT.
As an evening goes on, drinking usually accelerates. With more people seemingly having a good time, alcohol addiction faces a very strong challenge. Sometimes that best thing is just to leave. Again, have a reason for your exit: got to get an early start, had a tough workout and you’re just beat…or whatever works for you.
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