With the holiday season comes parties, family gatherings, and plenty of festive food and drink. Unfortunately, this isn’t a good thing for everybody. Whether you’re trying to stay sober after a DUI or you just don’t like alcohol, holiday parties can be tricky or uncomfortable for anyone who wants to avoid it. However, with the right preparation, you can enjoy the night along with everyone else. Here are three tips to avoid drinking at holiday parties and make the most of the festivities.
Be Prepared for Offers
If there’s alcohol at a party, someone is going to offer it to you—and probably more than once. Be prepared to say no a lot. It helps to know how you want to answer ahead of time, so you aren’t caught off guard whenever someone asks. Remember that the people offering you alcohol mean well, and a polite, confident response is the best way to decline. Carrying a non-alcoholic drink with you can also reduce the number of offers you get.
Have a Support System
One of the biggest tips to avoid drinking at holiday parties—and any other time of the year—is to remember that you don’t have to do it alone. If you know the host, don’t be afraid to ask about non-alcoholic drinks or bring your own if you want a better selection. Chances are, you’re not going to be the only sober person there, and a good alternative drink is a great way to make friends. It’s also a good idea to attend parties with a friend or family member who knows that you’re not drinking. Outside of the party, don’t be afraid to lean a little more heavily on your support systems. From loved ones to peer groups, everyone needs a little help sometimes—there’s no shame in asking for it when you’re struggling.
Have an Escape Plan
At the end of the day, your biggest responsibility is to yourself, your safety, and your happiness. If you’re feeling pressured or uncomfortable in any way, it’s always okay to leave. Have a plan to get home so you don’t have to wait on a ride. You can also come up with a backup plan—like going to the movies or hanging out with other people—so you can still have a great night even if you have to leave the party early.