As if getting sober isn't hard enough, on top of actually getting your shit together you still need to deal with the emotions of how YOUR non-drinking will effect others. Because it will effect others ... and probably not how you anticipated.
1. Make sure to psych yourself up
I've gone to functions where I've prepped what I'm going to say to others and I've also gone to functions where I haven't prepped and let me tell you the difference! Don't get me wrong, I'm a quick thinker (or at least I like to think so) but sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me and I start to get sweaty palms and I begin to stutter my words. Go with some quick one liners like "I'm not thirsty", "get the fuck off my back" or "it's none of your business" ... just kidding those are the one liners that ARE going through my head but it usually ends up being something like "I'm fun enough on my own", "I don't want to be hungover tomorrow", "I don't drink but I'll take a soda"!
2. Be prepared to be disappointed
Now I know this won't be the same for everyone but USUALLY the people who you think are going to be the most supportive and the least argumentative usually end of being the opposite 9eye roll). Because of this you may be intimidated, just know that you're also bringing awareness to an issue they may have so they could be feeling just as defensive! Approach with love and leave with understanding, that's the best you can do! <3
3. Make sure you're in a good head space
This one can be tricky because in times of trouble it's only natural to go to your friends. However I'd suggest making sure to not just dump or unload everything on them because it WILL become overwhelming to them ESPECIALLY to those friends who don't struggle in the same ways with substances as some of us do.
4. Come with an alcohol-free bevy
For me I realized that what I was bringing up to people was such a new concept that they couldn't visualize things, so I had to SHOW them. Yes my approach was a little drastic - creating an internationally run business BUT who says you can't birth something of the same magnitude. SHOW your friends and family WHY you're choosing this lifestyle instead of trying to convince them. People respond better to things they can see and touch and taste... perhaps an alcohol-free beer like Partake would suffice?!
5. Have strong boundaries
This one is SO important but also will not be perfected over night ... or probably ever lol. BUT for example recently over the phone we asked a dinner guest to not bring alcohol into the house.. This lead to a long pause with a very shakey "ughh I guess I can respect that request"... which ya isn't a 10/10 answer but it definitely got the point across. What I've found works REALLY well with my boundaries is when I say a boundary (please don't bring alcohol over) and they respond kind of all over the map, I hold back on my response. 1.Because it gives them nothing (emotion or statement) to work off of and 2. It shows my seriousness when it comes to push and shove
6. Approach people who will understand first
Just as you would in sports or a test of some sort, you need to practice/study. I say study because that's kind of what life becomes for a bit, a study of how people will respond to the new you. It's not always pretty and it's not always smooth sailing but it definitely is rewarding by the end. Just make sure not to get frustrated with yourself if one person gets mad and the next person doesn't. People respond differently to different matters and as long as you are presenting your authentic self, you will never be in the wrong!
7. Start by listing all of the ways your feel amazing
I can't stress this one enough, people respond to negative reactions. This means if you start off by mentioning how difficult things have been and how left out you've been feeling you won't get much support ... which I know sounds backwards but believe me. So I start off by how my energy levels have changed, how much more I'm capable of accomplishing and how my habits and association have done a complete 180. People want to feel good and if they see someone who is living and feeling a life they desire, they will look for the reasoning and hey ours just happens to be to kick the booze ya hot dogs!!
8. Talk about alcohol-free celebrities
This one kind of speaks for itself, but just as drinking can be glamorized, so can not drinking! Just to name a few Natalie Portman, Elton John, Shania Twain, Tyler The Creator, Zac Efron ... honestly all the cool ones... yes Zac Efron is still cool in my eyes!
9. Don't be so hard on yourself
So what, not everyone is going to jive with the new you but HEY, isn't that why we started to cut back on drinking. Because we weren't happy with our lives. Whether it was our habits, our association or maybe the lack of support (most likely this one), we were all craving change. So that's what we got, change.
10. Breathe and move slowly.
Im not joking about this one! I usually am a go-to kind of girl, I like to get shit done. However ... that was also a trait of old Kaitie who never took care of herself. The new Kaitie is LITERALLY new, I don't really know her yet but so far she seems rad. Sometimes I don't understand her, but thats where the breathing comes in.
Over all, I'm not gonna beat around the bush, bringing up that you are choosing not to drink to your drinking buddies is going to cause waves. Just know the Sober Saturdayz Collective is a community where we can aid each other in these experiences. We've gone through enough bullshit on our own, let's help each other out!