Many holidays year-round seem to be attached to the idea of drinking. Saint Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July, Mardi Gras, and of course Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. All of these holidays and more are often centered around getting together with friends and family as well as drinking. It’s commonly expected that you partake in whatever alcoholic beverage the group is sharing, but what do you do when you don’t drink? Or better yet, what happens when you’re trying not to drink. For those of us who are trying to limit our alcohol intake due to health reasons or otherwise, this can sometimes be too tempting for us to turn down. Here’s what you need to know in order to say no to alcohol each holiday.
Remember Why You’ve Stopped Drinking
Sometimes it can feel like the holidays are no fun unless you drink, but that’s simply not true. The best parts of the holidays are creating special memories that you’ll have with you forever. If you’ve stopped drinking due to health reasons, you’re doing something noble in order to better your health. You should never feel ashamed for that. Also, remember that your health, happiness, and lifestyle choices aren’t up for negotiation. As long as what you’re doing is to better yourself, that is undoubtedly worth standing up for.
This is especially important to remember when you’re attending holiday events. There is a significant reason that influenced you to make this decision and it shouldn’t be disregarded or taken lightly. Those around you who know you’re doing this in order to better yourself will wholly understand this concept and will support your efforts alongside you. Remember to use them as a resource when things get tough.
Enforce Your Boundaries
This doesn’t mean that you have to share information with everyone at every party about why you’re not drinking. This has more to do with internally enforcing your boundaries. If you know that it’s too tempting for you to be around certain types of alcohol or certain individuals who drink, then you need to firmly stick to that boundary that you’ve created.
If you decide to lower your boundary “just this once,” it will be harder for you to build those boundaries back up in the future. It’s not a bad idea to confide in those close to you, if you haven’t already. Choose individuals who will support your cause and who will help you fight the good fight when push comes to shove. It’s always a good idea to have a support system close by when temptation strikes. However, there will be moments without your support system, so you have to know how to say no when you’re without constant support as well. This will take time, but you can do it. Remember your boundaries and why they are important to you. This will help you say no when the real challenge comes. I suggest that you start small if you’re not entirely confident in your ability to say no. Don’t rush into situations that are simply too triggering for you.
Distance Yourself from Temptation
For some, going to holiday get togethers is just too much of a temptation, which is understandable. You can distance yourself from the issue without feeling like you’re ruining the holiday for yourself. In addition, now that you know what your boundaries are and you’re not willing to bend them, you know when it’s necessary to remove yourself from a situation entirely.
Sometimes it’s simply too overwhelming to enforce a boundary even if you feel strongly about it. That’s when you come up with an alternative. On the day of the event, create something else for you to do. Make plans with others who will help you not drink and/or think of fun things to do that don’t involve drinking. They should be solid plans that will require your full attention. This is why sharing with your family and friends is so important, because more likely than not you’ll have people that would prefer to spend their holiday time with you, which gives you so much more confidence to not drink.
In the end, preparation and determination will get you through any holiday when you don’t drink. Those around you will support your decisions, you just have to believe in yourself. It can be difficult at times, but remember why you’re doing it and be proud of yourself for making a decision that clearly benefits your quality of life so much. Stand by your life choices and know that you are a person that deserves respect, which means your plans to improve your quality of life also deserve respect. Remembering this fact and letting others into your plan will help things run much more smoothly year round. As a result, If you put this plan into action, plan ahead, and remove yourself from temptation, you can surely make it through any holiday.