Q&A - Reader questions answered

I wanted to address a question I recently received from a reader:
Q: How do you deal with going out with friends who are used to seeing you drink?
A: This is challenging! I wish that the friends and family part would be the easiest - since they would naturally want to see you succeed and be happy. But alcohol is so engrained in our society as a lubricant for social settings, to connect and relate.
There are some times that I can fly under the radar. For example, at children's birthday parties where they serve wine and beer, I can usually just get away with choosing a water or - if someone asks - I can just say, no thanks. These are kind of easy as there are a lot of distractions and usually the parties are early morning or in the afternoon.
But if it's more like going out for a dinner where everyone will be drinking, I prepare way ahead of time.
Like literally prepare:
  • what I'm going to say
  • what I'm going to drink
  • what kind of time I'm going to have
Preparation is key in living a sober life, especially during the first few weeks where everything is so new and alcohol is everywhere. So, here is how I prepare:
  • What I'm going to say - The main thing is to have a reason - most people, especially if they are friends you drink with (or used to drink with) will ask why you aren't drinking. If you aren't prepared, which I have been before, it's easy just to cave and say yes to that glass of wine. If you are prepared, and have mentally practiced what you are going to say, it kind of boosts the subconscious into following the lead. You can have a list of things to share, such as:
  1. I'm taking a break from alcohol
  2. I'm trying this alcohol free challenge
  3. I've been sleeping like crap so I want to drink less
  4. Alcohol is making me really anxious lately and I need to cut it out
  5. I'm sick of the hangovers and feeling tired. I'm taking a break for a while

I have used every one of those reasons above! They are all absolutely true.

  • What I'm going to drink - I select a few drinks that I know what I will drink ahead of time and practice them. For example:
  1. "soda water with lime, please."
  2. If they don't have soda water, then I know I will order a non-alcoholic beer, "O'Douls please"
  3. If they don't have that, then I may ask for lemonade with tea.

I practice having confidence to order my non-alcoholic drinks and I'm prepared if they don't have something I want.

Also, a lot of times restaurants and bars will have mocktails on the menu so I always look to see if they offer that to try one of those!

Honestly, anyone who drinks with you will know the downside of drinking. Try to be honest with them and open up a bit and maybe you guys can have some great conversations!
  • What kind of time I'm going to have - I think this is the most important thing at all. If you go into something thinking it's going to suck, it probably will. If you visualize yourself laughing, having a great time, talking to people and enjoying the scenery, then you are already setting yourself up to have a great time, right? I am sitting at 28 days right now so am in no way an expert - BUT I have been able to get out there a bit and have successfully navigated family situations, bad days and get togethers without drinking. I find I'm still uptight at first - and my brain goes back and forth still: Why don't I just have a glass of wine? Just get a beer for god's sake! Have a sip of the specialty beer.

But honestly, I've done all that. I'm tired of doing all that. I know how that ends. It ends with me being lazy the next day, irritable, eating like shit, just trying to get through a workout. And it's not for me right now.

What do you think? Do you think that sounds possible? 
Do you have other questions or issues you are dealing with? Let me know your thoughts.
Also, are you on Instagram? There is a lot of inspiration on Instagram from the sober community. You can follow certain hashtags, such as #sobermommy #soberinspo #alcoholfree #mocktails or any other topics you are interested in learning more about!
Let me know how your weekend went, Kim