You did it! You survived Dry January. But what now? Whether you’ve decided to say goodbye to alcohol forever or just want to cut back, at some point you’ll find yourself face-to-face with your old drinking buddies. In my experience, this group of friends doesn’t like to let one of its former flock go easily, so be prepared for a couple of curve balls.
It’s time to retox, they’ll say. Or: ‘It’s my birthday!’ When you’re committing to a drink-less lifestyle, there are a million and one reasons to have a beer, or a teeny-tiny vodka, so make sure your reasons for not indulging are stronger than their arguments for! Be clear as to why you’re doing this. Whether it’s health, wealth, family or work, it’s no-one’s business but yours, so don’t be swayed or feel you have to over-explain your decision.
When I gave up alcohol three years ago, I initially decided to do it for a year. This was an altogether more palatable option for me (and my friends) and, thankfully, I had their backing. Still, at first, I gave a wide swerve to situations where I’d be tempted to drink. You may do the same, and that’s OK. But when you choose to step back into the fray, it’s good to be prepared. In the face of well-meaning friends leading me back into temptation, these are the four responses I used:
- ‘No thanks. I did Dry January and feel so good I’ve decided to carry on.’
- ‘Actually, I’ve challenged myself to stay booze-free until July.’
- ‘Drinking makes me anxious so I’m cutting back.’ (This one stops most people in their tracks.)
- ‘I don’t drink alcohol any more, but I would love a (insert mocktail of your choice here).’
It is hard but you only have to do it once. And you might be surprised by how many of your old tribe follow your lead! Let me know how people react, and get in touch on Instagram @kirstinchaplin.