The holiday season is the most joyous time of the year, but there’s also a ton of pressure that comes with it. We all have different lifestyles and for some of us that involves not drinking alcohol. The holidays are a big time for drinking and it’s hard not to be influenced when nearly everyone around you is saying cheers. If you don’t drink, no matter the reason, it’s important to set those boundaries with your loved ones so that they respect your decision.
If you’re struggling with this and feeling anxious about the holidays, here are some simple tips to help you move forward and set those boundaries.
Avoid the events that might tempt you to drink
The holidays typically involve gatherings, but events outside of that can be tempting too. Avoid parties that are flowing with alcohol left and right if you think the pressure will be too much. This leads us to our next point about changing your routine.
Change your routine (i.e. instead of meeting up at bars, meet at a coffee shop)
It’s common to meet up with old friends at places like bars, but it doesn’t have to be the norm. Switch it up and meet up at a coffee shop, take a workout class together, stay in and watch a movie—the options are endless. This also gives you room to talk more about lifestyle in a comfortable space.
Be open and honest about your sobriety
This is crucial. You have to be open and honest with your circle about the fact that you don’t want to drink and that they shouldn’t pressure you to. This sets the tone for firm boundaries and encourages your loved ones to make you feel comfortable and welcome when you’re around them. Plus, they’ll have your back if times get tough.
Distance yourself from people who don’t respect your decision
Enough said. There’s absolutely no room for disrespect and people who purposely make you feel comfortable.
Remember why you decided that drinking isn’t for you (and meditate on it)
This is such a personal decision but at the end of the day, if you decided to stop drinking it was for your own unique reason. Keep this in the back of your mind at all times and use it as a motivation tool.
If you or a loved one are struggling with sobriety around the holidays, contact SAMHSA‘s 24/7 hotline for assistance.