St. Patrick’s Day. Spring Break. March Madness. Just as some holidays are family holidays, these ones could easily be designated drinking holidays. But what if you want to celebrate without drinking?
It’s certainly possible, but if you typically partake in these annual festivities with a drink in your hand, it may take some effort and planning to do it differently this year. To start, take a look at the following 7 ways to enjoy drinking holidays without drinking.
Make a declaration
The first step to success in celebrating these holidays without drinking is to make a declaration that this is what you plan to do. First, you need to make that commitment to yourself. Then make it to those around you. Chances are the people who care about you will support your efforts and want to help in any way they can.
Celebrate at home
If you’re new to the idea of not drinking during these holidays, it might be best to do your celebrating at home, where you can be more in control of the festivities. Plan an alcohol-free celebration with your family and a few close friends who are willing to forgo the drinking while in your home.
Focus on daytime activities
Granted, St. Patty’s Day parades aren’t exactly alcohol-free zones, but you’re more likely to be in the company of non-drinkers at the daytime activities than you might be at the celebrations that take place in the evening and at night.
Bring a buddy
Maybe you’ve been going to the same sports bar for March Madness festivities for years, and you hate the idea of missing out this year. If this is the case, try to find a friend who’s also willing to make this an alcohol-free holiday. Having the support will make it much easier to celebrate without drinking.
Chronicle the celebration
Play the role of documentary filmmaker during the Spring Break getaway or other parties. Tell your friends ahead of time that you want to chronicle the fun but won’t be drinking any alcohol. Then record the road trip, the card games, or the pool parties (with everyone’s ok, of course). This will give you something to focus on, keep you in the mix, and provide your crew with a record of the adventure.
Pay careful attention to how you feel
Even if you feel strong and up for the challenge of celebrating in an environment where other people are drinking, you’ll want to pay careful attention to what’s happening inside you. Are you watching with envy as other people drink? Are you starting to think that maybe one drink won’t hurt? Paying attention to your thoughts and feelings will help you understand when you’ve hit your limit. If you stay alert, it’ll give you the opportunity to leave before you break your promise to yourself.
Have a getaway plan
If you’re planning to test yourself and try not drinking around others who are, then you’ll want to have a getaway plan for when you’ve hit your limit. Plan a signal with your buddy that says, “Gotta get out now!” from across the room. Or have someone you can call for a ride home. Celebrating an alcohol-free holiday will be more fun if you know how to get away when it’s not fun anymore.
If you need help, Alvarado Parkway is here
At Alvarado Parkway Institute in San Diego, we understand how difficult it can be to make changes around alcohol use. Helping people get sober and stay sober has been a part of our mission for over 35 years. If you want to stop drinking alcohol and you’re finding it difficult to make that change on your own, we can help. Call our 24-hour crisis line at 619-667-6125 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment.
Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. We’re here for you.