If you’re sober (or trying to be), an issue you might have to deal with at this time of year is having drinks pushed on you. Here are a few examples of things you could hear:
“What do you mean you’re not drinking? Don’t be boring.”
“I’m not taking no for an answer, I’ve got you a drink anyway!”
“Come on, one glass won’t hurt…”
Argh! 🙄 It’s annoying that you have to deal with drink pushers now, so early on in sobriety, when you have plenty of other things to be thinking about.
Here are my tips for dealing with this nonsense at Christmas!
Drink pushers aren’t mean saboteurs
Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt here, because I don’t think drink pushers are really trying to sabotage you. They’re just used to you drinking with them. So they’re offering you a drink like they always have done, and they expect you to say yes because that’s what you’ve always said before.
They might think you deserve a drink or a break from trying to “be good”. They want you to treat yourself and have fun – perhaps you’ve had some great times together in the past, drinking.
It’s also true that they might have a vested interest in you drinking. Perhaps it’s uncomfortable for them to have you “being good” as it makes them question their drinking. But whatever’s going on for them, that’s their stuff and you’re not responsible for it.
How you think about this is key
If we were talking about bananas here, and your friend said, “Come on, we’re all having a banana. I know you want a banana too, just have half of one at least…” You probably wouldn’t feel guilty about saying no. You wouldn’t worry about disappointing them. You’d just be thinking, “What is your obsession with bananas?”
You can go into these situations thinking things that make you feel terrible, or you can think things like, “It doesn’t matter what liquid is in my glass. That is the least interesting thing about me.” Or, “I’m here because I want to see my friends and I can do that no matter what liquid I drink.” Or, “I’m here because it’s a work party and I feel obliged to be here. But drinking at a boring party just means I’ll be drunk at a boring party.”
Those are all great thoughts to stay focused on. It’s your thoughts that will make you feel good or bad in these situations, not what other people do.
A few more quick tips
Remember that you don’t owe anyone an explanation. The drink pushers don’t need your back story. You can make up an excuse, if that feels easier, or you can just say something simple like, “I’m not drinking at the moment, it hasn’t been making me feel good.”
Be really positive. Even if you have to fake that positivity, telling someone that you’re feeling really good about not drinking and that you’re not missing it at all, is a great idea – because it’s much harder for them to keep pestering you if you kill off half of their argument.
Finally, keep a sense of perspective. Even if someone makes a big deal out of you not drinking, it’s only a brief moment. Any drink pushers you encounter will move on and forget about it soon enough. But if you drink, you won’t recover so quickly. You won’t forget about it, because you’ll be back on Day 1, living with the consequences of breaking your sober streak. So stand firm and protect your sobriety. You’ve got this.