So, if you didn’t already know, I’m teetotal. Yep. I suggest heading over to read my ‘why it’s okay to be a teetotal 23 year old‘ post before reading on to get the low down. I’ve been off the drink for over 3 years now which is both amazing, and scary. But the fact is, whatever your reason for not drinking, it never gets easier when you head into the party season. With upcoming work Christmas meals and family gatherings, I can imagine it’s a similar feeling if you suffer from social anxiety, as you just can’t escape it. I know it shouldn’t, but these occasions are mainly celebrated by drinking alcohol which can lead you to feeling like ‘the odd one out’.
A year on from writing my post, and I still feel like nothing has changed in society about the so called ‘drinking culture’, drinking until the cows come home and collpasing in the gutter is NOT Hygge, nor is it cool. The best thing I have found is removing yourself from the situation, but unfortunately it’s not possible when the impending doom of the work Christmas party is approaching. Seeing as this will be my 4th teetotal Christmas (do I get a jacket for when I reach 5 years?) I thought I’d share some of my survival tips with you to help keep you sane over the Christmas period!
#1. Don’t Overthink
Overthinking and worrying is the first thief of happiness. I usually have 5 questions on repeat in my head before going to any type of social event; ‘will they ask why I’m not drinking?’ ‘Will they think I’m boring?’, ‘what if I’m not confident enough to sit with drunk people?’ ‘will they ask why I can’t drink?’ etc. I am so guilty of doing this and more times than not, only a couple of questions will actually come to fruition during the evening.
Overthinking beforehand will put you off going, and you should never let being teetotal stop you from doing something. Which leads me to….
#2. Do GO
Just say yes! It’s like suffering from social anxiety, however hard it is, it makes it worse for yourself if you don’t go and turn down an invite. I always ask myself, what is the worst thing that’s going to happen? Probably nothing, so go, enjoy yourself, you deserve that glass of orange juice with your friends!
#3. Be Confident
Just by going to an event and not drinking in itself is a huge achievement. How many people could actually go to a Christmas work party sober? No, really? The reality is that people drink because it makes them feel more confident, and to relax. REALITY CHECK: They need it to feel less socially awkward, and to give themselves a boost of confidence.
Confidence comes from within, and the reason people say ‘how can you do it?’ or ‘is it boring?’, is actually because they would never be able to do it in a million years. If you have confidence, you can survive any social occasion without alcohol, and you can go home feeling confident that you’re going to be hangover free the next day, woop!
#4. Answer Questions, BUT Don’t Justify
We all know that one person that never takes no for an answer, and will ask you the same questions about your drinking habits at EACH social gathering, give it a break? No matter how many times you tell a person they just can’t seem to accept it that not everyone drinks.
These people are boring, my best advice is to avoid them if you can, and remember to never justify. You don’t have to tell anyone why you don’t drink if you don’t want to, its 2016 AND YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT!
#5. Pick A Yummy Drink
Water is probably one of the only things that I actually drink during the week, so when I go out for a meal or a night out it makes it more of a treat to have something a bit less ‘boring’. Mocktails are a good choice, and more places are starting to cater to the teetotal market so they’ll always have a space on the drinks menu for some options, albeit small.
Actually, people may not even know you’re not drinking sometimes – I’ve played drinking games with water and been bought top ups of vodka lemonade when I was just drinking lemonade. People don’t even know the difference when they’ve had one too many!
#6. Be Yourself
It’s not your fault that you can’t drink for whatever reason, and you should never let it feel like that. I’ve completely changed my life for the better since I stopped drinking 3 years ago, and I couldn’t be happpier. I’m alive, happy and healthy, and I really couldn’t ask for anything more.
Everyone will see you at your best all the time, as nothing is ever clouding your judgement or enhancing your personality. When you’re acting yourself, you don’t need to be anything else. And if people don’t like that? They’re not worth having in your life!
Whatever event you have coming up, I hope you all have an amazing time during the Christmas season, remember that your teetoal status doesn’t define you! I don’t personally know of many people that are 100% teetotal and I really wish I would have been able to confide in someone 3 years ago. So if you’re in a similar position or need some advice, please do tweet me or get in touch via email on email@example.com!
Are you teetotal? Do you have any other tips for surving the Christmas party season?