You’re not the only one out there who’s not drinking. Isn’t that nice to know sometimes? Most of the time, it feels like you’re the only sober person who’s out on a Friday night. A lot of us stay away from alcohol because we want to enjoy better health. Others of us are abstaining because of personal ethical reasons, pregnancy, or addiction. Whatever your reason, you’re not alone! How do you cope when your friends drink and you don’t?'A lot of us avoid alcohol because to enjoy better health or for ethical reasons, pregnancy or addiction.'Click To Tweet
It’s amazing what a divide can form between those who are drinking and those who aren’t. It can be frustrating when you’re out with friends and you’re pregnant and you realize that you have to occupy a completely different role in the group when you’re not drinking.
It can be confusing to know how to connect with coworkers when they’re going out for happy hour and you’re not sure whether you should be there or not. After all, drinking is such an inherent part of our socialization process. Obviously, it will take a bit of adjustment no matter what. But here are some tips to help you cope more comfortably.
“What do you do when
your friends drink and
Ensure Boundaries Are Set and Respected
Whatever your reasons are to abstain from drinking, you’ve thought them through thoroughly. It’s important that people respect your resolve, instead of trying to get you to join in the drinking. This is especially important if you’re recovering from addiction, where boundaries are the only thing that stand between your sobriety and a life that you don’t want to go back to.
On the other hand, you don’t want to get over-personal, or terribly serious all of a sudden if you have to keep telling people about your process with addiction, or to get into a philosophical debate about your values. That’s why the first thing that you’ll need to do is be ready to tell people why you’re not drinking. Practice having a line that’s confident and true, but not confrontational or heavy. Your response can be something as simple as “I don’t drink for personal reasons.”
That being said, it’s also important to remember that if you feel your boundaries are being breached, people are giving you a hard time for not drinking, or simply being in that environment is a problem for you, you can leave! Protecting your sobriety, or standing for your values, is important, and you don’t need to cater to people who don’t respect that.
“It can be confusing to know how
to connect with coworkers when they’re
going out for happy hour and you’re not sure
whether you should be there or not.”
Don’t Always Be the Designated Driver
When everyone’s discussing who will be the designated driver of the night, you might seem like the obvious choice. Sometimes it seems like the least you can do. And often, you’re happy to help out. But if going out with you friends when they drink and you don’t is a common thing, it can be really annoying to always be the one responsible for ferrying others to and fro.
It can also be tempting to be the caretaker, if your friends have a tendency to not just drink, but get sloppy drunk. Set some rules ahead of time on when you’ll interfere and when you won’t, and what they’re responsible for themselves. You can tell them that they have to Uber themselves home, or that you insist on someone else being the designated driver now and then.'Whatever your reason for not drinking, you’re not alone! How do you cope when your friends drink and you don't?'Click To Tweet
Bring a Friend
If you’re feeling a little isolated by being the only one not drinking, or if you need someone else around to keep you feeling strong, you might want to bring a friend. This can be a really useful lifeline if you are going into an unfamiliar situation. Either bring a friend who is also sober, with whom you can commiserate if you’re uncomfortable, or invite someone who is close enough to be supportive and help you keep your resolve.
“It’s amazing what a divide
can form between those who are
drinking and those who aren’t.”
What can also be nice about having a friend around is that it can help you with the last tip here: loosening up! People are uncomfortable when you’re uncomfortable. Often, the reason that people feel unsure about inviting you out when they’re drinking is that they don’t want to overstep. They might worry about making you feel like the odd man out. They might also worry about having you there when they want to party and relax, because they think that you’ll judge.
So, let people know that you’re ready to enjoy yourself. You might not be drinking, but you can still tell stories, laugh, dance, and flirt. Have some ginger ale in your hand, and don’t make a big deal out of it. You’ll usually notice that others will immediately follow suit.
Guest post by Christine Hill
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