The festive season can be a tricky time for us sober folks. Of all the challenges at this time of year, the ultimate test has to be the office Christmas party. Let’s face it: making polite conversation with people you’ve fantasised about murdering with a stapler is tough. It’s unnerving, watching your boss sway awkwardly on the dance floor whilst you’re stuck talking to Derek from accounts. And don’t get me started on the minefield that is the office Secret Santa …
Of course, the British solution to all of the above is to open a bar tab and drink one’s way through any potential awkwardness. But what do you do if you’re newly sober or trying not to drink? Well, have no fear. It is possible to survive your Christmas party, stone cold sober – and actually have fun. Here are 10 tips:
Buy something new to wear, get your nails done and do your hair. If you look good on the outside, it will help you feel more confident inside.
Get things in perspective
Yes, it is a bit awkward when you get stuck making polite chit chat with your line manager. But would booze really help with that? Would being drunk suddenly make the two of you best mates? It’s unlikely.
Remember, alcohol does not provide the fun
We’ve been brainwashed into thinking alcohol has magic properties, when it’s you that provides the fun, not the contents of your glass. Alcohol numbs your brain but that’s about all it does.
Fake it till you make it
Slap a smile on your face and commit to an hour of making a real effort. Act like you’re going to have a fabulous time and who knows – it might just happen!
Prepare an explanation
Frankly, it’s nobody else’s business, but people are very nosy. It’s up to you whether you answer honestly or not, but I find that when you’re having a slightly shouty conversation in a noisy bar, it’s easier just to lie. (I have some suggestions here).
Choose your non-alcoholic drinks wisely
Overdoing it on full fat coke will give you a sugary, caffeine filled, jittery buzz. If you’re trying not to attract attention, then tonic water or fizzy water in a nice glass with a slice of lime will pass for a G&T.
Always have an escape plan
Make sure you can go home when you want to. This means that if you’re giving people a lift to the party, they should be prepared to make their own way back. You can leave whenever you like, it’s no big deal. You came, and now you’re going.
Remember, it’s just one night
A good night out depends on so many things: the mood you’re in, the venue, the music, the people you’re with. One crap night out is just that – one night.
Arrange something nice for you to do the next day as a sober treat. You deserve it!
And finally – look on the bright side
When you’re sober, the chances of you insulting your boss, photocopying your bum or snogging someone inappropriate are greatly reduced. And that is a very good thing. Trust me on that one…
Thanks Kate – very timely. I have two office parties this week and another two the week after next (I’m a lawyer – the work hard/play hard thing is not a myth…). I’m dreading going to them sober but I know that I really, really don’t want to get drunk around my colleagues yet again. The above tips are extremely helpful – I’m going to book a massage for Saturday morning as a treat for staying on the wagon on Friday! I love your blog – it’s such a great resource for me in my efforts to cut back on drinking. Thank you and keep up the good work. xx
Thanks Camilla – and good luck this week! It gets easier with practice x
Hi. Thanks for the tips. Whatca great site! I wanted to report that I had the best works Christmas party ever. And guess what? no booze! I enjoyed the food company and dancing. I’d normally be sloshed and then the weekend would be a write off. I actually enjoyed myself more than if I was drinking. I realised that I was in charge of how much fun I had not the wine. Plus my friend bought me 2 soct drinks for driving. I drank water and coffee for the meal then had a lime and soda so only spent £1! Bonus. Thanks so much!
This is great to hear Lyn! I’m so pleased you had a good time (and saved loads of money too). Win win!