How to Say No at Holiday Parties

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With holiday festivities in full swing, it’s likely you’ll encounter a situation where someone politely offers a drink and may feel some reservation on how you can best handle the gesture. Whether newly sober or practicing abstinence for some time, the holidays can present some challenges, but there are some ways that can help you stay on track and keep your sober goals.

The art of saying “No.” comes easy for some, but often takes some practice. This can apply to honoring boundaries, declining invitations, overextending your capacity of giving, or turning down alcohol or drugs. Here, you can find helpful suggestions for how you can comfortably sustain your abstinence journey and enjoy the holiday season.

6 Ways to Survive the Holidays Sober

It’s the most joyful time of the year, right? The holiday season is a favorite time for many, but can also feel overwhelmingly stressful. Meeting expectations and demands can feel like a lot of pressure and it’s not uncommon for people to experience sadness, isolation, or other low feelings. While it may seem easier to blend in and join the crowd at your next get together, it’s important to recall your reasons for quitting and ways you can prioritize your recovery.

With a plan in mind, you can help avoid holiday get together anxiety. We designed the following tips with your sobriety in mind and how you can get through the holidays with your sobriety intact.

Honest and simple

You can never go wrong with a direct, honest approach. This may seem strange or maybe even bring about feelings of shame, but it clearly delivers the message. Keep it short and no need to go into the details. A simple “No thanks, I don’t drink alcohol” is a polite and to the point and a completely acceptable way to decline.

Fitness and wellness goals

The direct approach may not be for everyone. But no worries, there are clever ways around this. It’s not unusual for people to take on new ways to improve health-especially toward the start of a new year. If offered, you can avoid stumbling for a reply and say you’ve made some changes towards living a healthier life and alcohol or drugs get in the way of wellness goals.

Grab a mocktail

With a drink already in hand, odds are slim anyone will offer another. This can prove an easy way to avoid declining a drink and no one will be the wiser. This strategy can apply for a house gathering or social occasions at a restaurant or bar. Bring your own favorite mix or simply tell the server your favorite mocktail of choice, even if that happens to be sparkling or still water with lemon.

Come up with a white lie

There’s nothing wrong with a white lie, especially when it comes to your sobriety. Although this strategy may not be the most effective in the long run, it can help you get through a night with friends and family. You can say you’re cutting out empty calories or taking a medication that can’t mix with alcohol. Another excuse just about everyone can relate to is waking early in the morning for work or other occasion and you want a clear head.

Be the driver

Everyone understands the risk of driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Not only does it pose a risk to yourself and others on the road, but it can also land you a night in jail.

Have an exit plan

Even the best laid plans foul up at times. Having an exit plan in mind for triggering situations can help you get out of a sticky spot and keep your sobriety intact. An exit strategy can be as simple as saying bye, generating a reason such as letting pets outside or feeling unwell, or bowing out unnoticed. There is no wrong way to make your exit. Protecting your sobriety and wellness holds higher priority than an overwhelmingly stressful gathering.

Celebrate the Season and Recovery

The holiday season can run the risk of relapse, but there are numerous ways you can stay safe and healthy during this time. Consider triggers and changes of routine. These disruptions may affect your thoughts surrounding drug and alcohol use. If these feeling begin to mount, connect with sober friends, or attend online or in-person group meetings during this time. If books and podcasts provide a source of inspiration for your sobriety, take a break from it all and carve out some time for some added encouragement from these sources. Above all, recognize the joy in recovery and how well you are taking care of your body and mind.

Happy holidays from the team at Pura Vida!