Depending on where you are in the world and the restrictions in place, you may be able to spend a little more time with friends and loved ones soon.

And what brilliant news this is! So many of us have been waiting for the moment that we can see our nearest and dearest again, even if things have not fully returned to normality quite yet. However, with any social occasion can come the pressures of alcohol – after all, we are celebrating, aren’t we? So what does that mean for those on alcohol-free challenges, or those hoping to continue their alcohol-free lifestyle into the future?

Don’t give up!

It may feel daunting, the prospect of being faced with all of your party animal friends who want you to pop bottles and share glasses of bubbles upon your reunion, but we promise, you can do this! We are here to give you some top tips and hacks to help you get through your first few social occasions without losing all the momentum and progress you have built. 

Remember, anxiety is normal

As with any change, often we feel a little anxious for how things may play out. Will we remember how to socialise? What if we get tongue twisted, stuck for conversation topics or make a fool of ourselves? The important thing to remember here is that these thoughts are normal, and everyone else around you is likely thinking the same things. So try to be forgiving, towards yourself and towards those around you.

It would be easy to fall prey to old thought patterns about having a couple of drinks to calm your nerves or release feelings of stress, but this is an opportunity to test yourself in applying all that you have learned so far about healthier ways to channel anxious energy.

You can still celebrate!

In that moment when you lock eyes with someone you care about that you haven’t been able to see for a long time, there is a huge cause for celebration – and this still applies to you. While we have been conditioned to believe that drinking equals party time, we know that this just simply isn’t true. Often, it is just the symbol of a fancy drink in a nice glass that you can raise as a toast that is enough to make you feel it is a special occasion. What is in the glass doesn’t matter – so think ahead and have something tasty in mind that you can drink as an alternative. Treat this as a double celebration, as you’re also celebrating your new-found happier and healthier life that you have spent your time and focus on building!

Remember your whys

If you are worried about giving into peer pressure, then take some time to go over your whys in your head. What were your reasons for starting this journey in the first place? Why did you want to change how much time and energy you spent on alcohol? What benefits have you experienced since going alcohol-free that you would like to hold on to? These little gems of information are what will keep you strong – you committed to make this change for yourself and you will follow through!

There are simple steps you can take to easily remind yourself of your whys. You can type them into your notes in your phone, take a screenshot and set this as your lock screen, or write them on a piece of paper and keep this close to hand in your purse or wallet, in case you ever need a quick reminder. Even simple reminders like those we’ve just suggested can have a massive impact on keeping you focussed on your goals.

It is okay to say no

A common theme throughout this blog post is to allow yourself flexibility, compassion and acceptance. Going from not being able to socialise at all, to being thrown back into the context of boozy days out with friends and family can feel overwhelming and no doubt there will be people who get a little overexcited and go overboard. Just as it is completely their choice to drink and party as they choose to, it is completely your decision to not drink and celebrate as you feel is best for you. 

If this means saying no to certain things during the social experience then that is okay – you are allowed to ease yourself back into these occasions slowly. It can also help to be upfront with your loved ones – either before the day or during – about why you have decided not to drink as this will allow them into your thought process so they can understand the reasons for your choices. Supportive friends and family won’t need any further explanation, accepting your decisions as your own.

Better times are ahead

There is so much to look forward to as we slowly find our way back into ‘normal’ life. This will be a time of flux as we recalibrate ourselves, but it is also a time of incredible opportunity. It is up to us to maximise this – and I don’t know about you, but I reckon we should try to enjoy it as much as we can without the distraction of a fuzzy, heavy head, and a dry mouth. Let’s go into this new phase of our lives living life better!


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