By: Greenwich Village SMART Recovery Group
Throughout the rest of your life there will be drinking occasions. There will be times when business or family responsibilities will require attendance at an event where people will be drinking. How do you deal with this? Here are tools to help:
a. Discuss the coming Activating Event with a fellow recovering/recovered person. Arrange to update that person afterwards.
b. Discuss the situation in a SMART meeting.
c. Rehearse the situation with a SMART group and by yourself. Act out the whole party step-by-step. Prepare answers to the questions people will ask. Visualize getting that soda. Do it again, and again, until it all seems natural.
d. If the host(ess) is a friend, tell them in advance that you are not drinking. Enlist them as an ally.
e. Take a more experienced non-drinker with you, or a friend who knows the situation.
f. Eat something before the party, especially if you donÕt know if (or when) there will be food.
g. Come late. Leave early.
h. Upon your arrival go straight to the bar. Get something non-alcoholic. You can then socialize with a glass in your hand and not stand out. This forestalls the ÒCan I get you something?Ó awkwardness.
i. Remember—your drinking or not drinking is less important to other people than you think it is. No one is watching!
Occasionally someone will press the issue. ÔCome on, one drink wonÕt hurt, help me celebrate. Are you too good to drink with me? ItÕs my birthday/wedding/holiday, etc.Õ You can probably guess which friend this will be.
How can you respond?
*Make eye contact. This shows them that you are serious.
*Speak in a clear, firm and unhesitating voice.
*DonÕt feel guilty You won t hurt anyone by not drinking. You have a right to not drink.
Stand up for your right.
*Suggest something else to drink or eat. ÔHow about some coffee? soda? dessert?Õ
*If they persist, request they change their behavior. ÔIf you want to be my friend, please donÕt push me to drink.Õ
*After saying no, change the subject. ÔYou know, IÕm really glad I came to this party. There are a lot of people IÕm glad to see.Õ And, if necessary, move on.