Summer means warmer weather and outdoor fun. From summer activities to pool parties and backyard barbecues, summer is a time for gathering with family and friends. Because summer get-togethers often include cold alcoholic drinks like beer and cocktails, it can be challenging for people trying to avoid alcohol. You worry about being a bad guest by not accepting the drink you’re offered or possibly feel left out. You also worry about being exposed to temptation and not having the willpower to refuse.
Whether you’re on a journey to sobriety or abstaining from alcohol for health reasons, avoiding social gatherings is not the solution. After all, giving up alcohol doesn’t have to mean giving up your social life. Fortunately, there are ways to continue to have fun and participate in all the summer festivities without alcohol. Here’s how:
Learn how to politely say “no”
Any good host welcomes their guests with an offer to drink, especially if the food won’t be served until later. And too often, the drinks you’ll be offered will be alcoholic, such as a beer, wine, or a cocktail. If you’re determined to avoid alcohol, learn how to politely refuse their offer. It can be as simple as saying “no, thank you” and may be followed by asking if they have any non-alcoholic drinks. Most people will not be offended by your refusal and will respect your choice not to drink alcohol.
There also are different ways to respond when someone asks why you’re not drinking. If you want to be honest, explain that you no longer drink alcohol. If you want to maintain privacy and not offer too many details, tell them you’re the designated driver, allergic, or just not a drinker.
Focus on the food
There’s no rule that you need to be holding a glass or bottle when you’re standing around socializing. If you’re conscious of not holding a beverage, take a small plate or a napkin and fill it with hors d’oeuvres or other food you can eat with one hand. Chances are you’re the only one who notices that you do not have a drink in hand.
Enjoy the company
The more people drink, the looser they become. The conversations may become livelier and louder. You may feel left out as everyone seems to be having fun without you. Don’t let the fear of missing out overwhelm you. Instead, enjoy the company and conversation. You will quickly realize that you can still have a good time without the assistance of alcohol as long as you stay engaged and connected with the right people.
Bring your own non-alcoholic alternatives
If you’re worried that the only non-alcoholic drinks available at the summer gathering are water and juice boxes for the kids, bring your own. While everyone else is bringing a side dish or dessert to a potluck, offer to make a refreshing fruit punch, coolers, or mocktails. Some great ingredients for non-alcoholic beverages this summer include cranberry juice, soda water, frozen berries, fresh lime, and fruit juices.
Take pride in your decision to remove alcohol from your life. Alcohol consumption increases the risk for several cancers, including colorectal, oral, liver, and breast cancer. Therefore, avoiding alcohol improves your quality of life and significantly reduces your cancer risk.
To learn more about cancer screening, prevention, and treatment, contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology. At Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology, more than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us, ask us a question, or consult with us to get a second opinion so you, too, can experience the difference.