Tips for Staying Alcohol-Free at Social Events

Abstinence from alcohol is advised for patients living with hepatitis C. Whether or not drinking is a problem for you, holidays and other social occasions are filled with temptations. It may be helpful to develop strategies for coping with these temptations. If you have found it difficult to get through a social event without imbibing, devise an alcohol-free plan. Identify the triggers that cause you to drink. If talking to people is difficult, try visualizing yourself at ease in social contexts. Collect an array of conversation-starters that might be of general interest, such as "Have you seen any good movies lately?" or "Have you read any good books this year?" Ask non-probing, open-ended questions, such as, "Do you like to travel? What are you favorite restaurants in the area?"

As soon as you arrive, get a non-alcoholic drink so you have something to hold in your hand and to quench your thirst. You don't have to feel deprived. Water is the perfect beverage, but it may make you feel deprived if that is all you have at a party. Order something special. Experiment with various non-alcoholic drinks.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Ginger ale, a splash of grenadine, and at least 2 maraschino cherries
  • Tonic with a twist of lemon or lime
  • Tomato juice with a dash of Tabasco and a slice of lemon
  • Club soda or seltzer on the rocks with an olive
  • Cola with lemon or lime
  • Sprite or Seven-up with a splash of grenadine, a wedge of lime, and a cherry
  • Orange or pineapple juice with half a shot of grenadine
  • Lemonade with a dash of Rose's Lime juice
  • Sparkling water, orange juice and cranberry juice
  • Ginger ale, a splash of pineapple juice, a squeeze of lime and a maraschino cherry
  • Sparkling water with a dash of balsamic vinegar
  • Hot chocolate topped with whipped cream
  • Hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick
  • Carbonated water with grenadine and a wedge of lemon, lime, or orange
  • A "virgin" version of any favorite mixed drink, such as a non-alcoholic piña colada
  • A non-alcoholic beer with lemon (Caution: nonalcoholic beers and wines are usually prohibited for those in addiction recovery or organ transplant programs because most contain alcohol -- even though the alcohol content is very low.)
  • Drink from nice glassware. Sparkling water from a wine glass adds a touch of elegance.

If you are unable to quit drinking, you may need help. Alcoholism is a disease, not a character flaw. There are many resources to assist those with alcohol problems, including professional, non-professional, self-help, spiritual, and secular-based approaches. If one method does not work, try another until you find one that works for you.

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