Work nights out can often be intimidating occasions, particularly if you are new to the business. On the one hand, you want to get to know colleagues and make the best impression of yourself and on the other you’re petrified about getting too drunk and embarrassing yourself.
Throw alcoholism into the mix and it can make it even more tricky. Office nights out when you are suffering from alcohol addiction can be incredibly difficult, especially if you’re in early stages of recovery as suggested by UKAT.
Anxiety can be high and with alcohol at every turning, temptation can be even higher.
Whether you’re suffering from addiction or not, one of the best ways to navigate those early work nights out are to avoid alcohol completely. Easier said than done? Not with these handy tips…
Outright say you aren’t drinking
There are many reasons why someone wouldn’t want to drink on a night out with colleagues, and that can remain completely private. Often there will be no questions asked, but you can also be honest with them, which will certainly carry a lot of weight.
By letting them know your reasons for not drinking, particularly if it is due to being in recovery, people will not only respect your desire to not have a drink, but also ensure you are not offered one as well as having their support for the rest of your time there.
Keep a drink in your hand
Another way around being offered a drink is by always having one in your hand. Get yourself to the bar and buy yourself a non-alcoholic drink and keep it topped up. This way if someone comes over to you, you’re not going to be offered a top up or whether you’d like any alcohol from the bar. Essentially, it saves upon the awkward conversation.
Stick with the non-drinkers
If you’re not the only person at the party who isn’t a drinker, then strength in numbers will certainly be helpful, particularly if they also suffer from addiction.
You can help each other get through it, while if everyone at your table or within your group is also only on soft drinks, the temptation won’t also be directly in your face, which can be hugely beneficial.
Show your face and leave early
You don’t have to stay for the entire party. If you think you’re going to struggle at the event and you’re dreading it somewhat, simply stay for a short time, show your fact and leave.
By showing up, you’ve made the effort but then if you have an excuse such as being double booked or you have an early meeting then you’ll be able to get off and avoid any temptation.
Have an exit strategy
Equally, if you’ve got plans in place for when you need to leave, then you will have to stick to them. Being a designated driver is always good for avoiding the drink, while also being able to offer any colleagues nearby a lift home.
Alternatively, if you have plans elsewhere then you may need to leave early and it can also provide an excuse for not drinking alcohol too.
Speak to your employers prior to the event
For those suffering with alcohol addiction, speaking out to your employers prior to the evening if it is an official work function will allow them to be more understanding and conscious of your situation.
What’s more, they will ensure you are catered for with any non-alcoholic drinks you may want and if the situation does become overwhelming for you, then they will support you in either leaving or finding a space to grab some air or a moment to yourself.
Pay attention to your emotions – HALT
When you’re in a particular state both mentally and physically you may be more likely to give into temptation. For example, when you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired it may increase the likelihood of triggering relapse, so ensure you stay on top of that. For example, take snacks and make sure you eat well, as well as ensuring you have the energy to be at the party. If you need a power-nap beforehand, so be it.
Don’t go into rounds
It may be that you want to partake in the party as much as you can and that might involve buying a round for the team. However, while you’ll have a soft drink, others won’t and you’ll then have to purchase alcohol at the bar which can put you directly in the line of fire. That temptation can then be huge and buying that one extra pint of lager for yourself can come quite naturally.
Avoid those situations and stick to buying for either yourself or for those on soft drinks so you don’t get so much as a whiff of alcohol at the party.
Offer to be the driver
Everyone loves the designated driver, so if you have a few spare seats in your car, then offer some colleagues a lift home. They’ll be really appreciative of the favour and won’t be asking you to have a drink every five minutes, as well as you having a good excuse not to drink in general.
Throughout rehabilitation, a positive mindset is encouraged and is what’s needed to stay on track and keep you in recovery. The same applies here. Having the right mindset will ensure you’re in a much stronger position to swerve temptation and remain on track.
Look for the positives in being sober at the party – you’re not going to make a fool of yourself, you’re not going to have a hangover the next day, and you’re probably going to have a much better sleep when you get home for it too.
If anything, the next day, all those colleagues that did drink too much alcohol, will be very much envious of you! And what’s more, you’ll be much stronger for getting yourself through what can be an incredibly testing time for you.