For some people drinking alcohol is a problem, leading to conflict with family members, employers, friends, and others. They've decided to stop and have created a plan conducive to abstinence. The plan to avoid alcohol might include not allowing alcohol in the home or weighing the pros and cons of drinking alcohol, and considering how the behavior might impact their family members or short-term goals.
Most people that want to avoid alcohol say it's hard to stop drinking when their friends continue to do it. When you see your friends drinking alcohol and having a good time at a party or birthday event, you might want to feel included in the fun by drinking alcohol. Perhaps drinking alcohol is a way for you to bond with friends, and that's the glue to your relationship with them.
Deciding to stop and staying committed to your decision might be challenging for a few reasons. For example, a group of friends invite you out to the bar for some drinks; if you go, you are more likely to drink with them than not. If you tell your friends "no" enough times when they invite you out, the invitations might slow down, and you might risk not having your friends invite you out to have fun because of your decision not to drink. The example above is one of the many challenges you might face with your friends, but there are ways to make this less burdensome.
Here are some strategies to help you not drink alcohol when your friends drink regularly:
1. Be honest with your friends: They say honesty is the best policy, and that's true with telling your friends about your decision not to drink alcohol. Explain to your friends that you need to take a break from alcohol and don't be afraid to ask for support. Your friends might want to drink alcohol, but that doesn't mean they can't help you avoid it.
2. Find new things to do with friends: When your friends want to do things that might or typically involve alcohol, like going to the bar, ask to do something else. Try a picnic at the park or do new hobbies together. The activities you do with your friends don't have to include alcohol, and you can bring this to their attention.
3. Non-alcoholic drinks: If you go to a birthday party, cookout, or any social gathering with alcohol, bring a non-alcoholic beverage like sparkling water or soda. A non-alcoholic drink allows you to enjoy the social setting without feeling left out of the fun.
4. Reduce peer pressure: Your friends are use to you drinking alcohol, and telling them that you've stopped, might be matched with "One drink won't kill you" or "Just have one shot with me." Preparation is critical in this situation, and having a response ready such as "Not tonight" or "Thanks, I'm fine with drinking soda," would help you with your goal. Also, it shows your friends that you are serious about not drinking alcohol.
Not drinking alcohol is a personal decision, and many people make this decision to improve their health, lessen problems with family members, or to save money. Quitting alcohol indefinitely or for a little while might be less challenging when you receive support from the people you have fun with, like your friends.
Shariff Ruffin wrote this article, and please credit him if used without his permission.
For support, Shariff Ruffin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org