How can you have success during the holidays if you’re choosing not to drink alcohol?
Holidays are a time for food, company and celebration. Alcoholic beverages often make an occasion feel celebratory – so how do you “do” the holidays without drinking? There can be lots of reasons that you might choose to avoid alcohol – maybe you’re doing a cleanse, maybe you’re pregnant, maybe you’re trying to be more healthy with your diet, or maybe you’re dealing with a DUI arrest and aren’t allowed under conditions from the court. Its common for our clients have to navigate the holiday season due to a DUI arrest. “Dry” holidays can be just as much fun, if not more! Like everything else, there’s a bit of adjustment at first. Here are a few tips to increase your chance of success:
First and Foremost, See Your Strength.
Remember that choosing not to drink alcohol in the midst of festivities can also remind you of how strong you are. It can be good practice to be around alcohol and not partake yourself. But be honest with yourself. If it’s too hard to be around drinking, especially in the early stages, don’t try to tough it out. Set yourself up for success, however you can, even if that means choosing not to attend stressful holiday family events.
Have an Escape Plan
If avoiding the gathering altogether is not an option, then give yourself a game plan to leave the event early. Having a departure time in mind is a reminder that the situation is only temporary. And remember that you are in control. If you want to leave earlier than you originally planned, do it. Be sure to have transportation options that will allow you to leave when you feel it’s necessary.
Avoid Known Risks
Focus on spending time with family members at the event who you have the healthiest relationships with and avoid the “toxic” relationships. Or, use this as an opportunity to get to know a family member that you never get to spend time with. Ask questions about them and their life – you might learn some fascinating family history.
Bring along a friend to a family function for additional support. Having someone there with you that you are comfortable with can help relieve some of the stressors and anxiety, and help you to have more success.
Make New Traditions
Plan a holiday event with people you would enjoy spending time with in order to offset some of the more obligatory events. Use this time as an opportunity to try new things. Check out activities that aren’t focused on alcohol and are fun and exciting. Check out our Thursday Hello, Weekend blog posts if you’re looking for ideas – every week we post local activities that are not focused solely on alcohol.
Bring Your Own Drink
Find a recipe for a fun and delicious refreshment to bring with you that everyone can enjoy. This allows you to contribute to the festivities and ensures that you have an enjoyable, non-alcoholic beverage for those celebratory moments. It also helps to keep the drink in hand throughout the night to prevent people from constantly offering you one.
Be Honest About Your Emotions
Avoid “people pleasing”, as this involves trying to keep other people happy while neglecting your own needs. Let go of other’s expectations and opinions. If you have a healthy relationship, then they will respect your personal choices.
Laughter is the Best Medicine!
Alcohol is present in a lot of activities. So much so, that we can start to believe that alcohol is the key to having a good time. Clarify what “fun” really is to you to avoid falling into the ‘I’m missing out’ trap. Keep an open mind and allow yourself to have a new and possibly better experience this year with family over the holidays. Really try to connect with them and find some humor in the situation.
If you or someone you care about is facing a DUI during the holiday season or throughout the rest of the year, call Reynolds Defense Firm (503) 223-3422. We can help get your questions answered right away and help you feel more in control of your situation. Reynolds Defense Firm, we’re solid, we’re here if you need us, and we’re very good at what we do.