DRY JANUARY: How to set your boundaries around alcohol 🥃

DRY JANUARY: How to set your boundaries around alcohol 🥃

Whether you just started or you haven’t been drinking alcohol for a while, your decision not to drink is valid and should be respected by others.
Unfortunately, in many cultures, alcohol accompanies most of social events from birthday parties and dinners to wedding ceremonies and office gatherings.

So how do we set boundaries around alcohol and make others respect our decision not to drink? Here are some tips on how to do so:

1. Be confident: Communicate your decision not to drink with confidence and without feeling the need to justify yourself. You have the right to make choices that align with your preferences and values. A simple yet firm ‘’Thank you, I will not be drinking tonight.’’ can be sufficient in many cases.

2. Provide a simple explanation (if desired): You can offer a brief explanation if you're comfortable, such as saying, "I prefer not to drink," "Alcohol doesn’t agree with me," or "I’ve chosen to give that Dry January a chance."

3. Redirect the conversation: If someone persists or asks more questions, politely redirect the conversation by changing the topic or steering it toward another aspect of the gathering or event.

4. Offer alternatives: Bring non-alcoholic beverage options, like sparkling water, mocktails, or juices, to show that you're still engaged in socialising without consuming alcohol.

5. Be respectful of others' choices: Just as you expect respect for your decision not to drink, respect others' choices to drink if they choose to. Avoid being judgmental or critical of their decisions.

6. Have a firm but polite response prepared: In case someone continues to pressure you, have a prepared response that kindly but firmly reinforces your boundary, like, "I appreciate your offer, but I'm good with what I'm drinking."

7. Set clear limits: If you're at an event where drinking is prevalent, decide in advance how long you plan to stay and make arrangements for leaving if you feel uncomfortable.

Remember, setting boundaries is about respecting yourself and your choices while also respecting others. Oftentimes, people tend to be more understanding if they are offered a little backstory - if it makes you comfortable, feel free to briefly inform your companions about the reasons behind not drinking.

Please note, you are not obliged to state any reasons though. If sharing any details makes you feel uncomfortable, stick to a firm ‘’No, thank you.’’ only.

I hope you will find these tips helpful!

Yours sincerely,

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