As part of our New Year’s resolution to live healthier this year, many of us choose to forego alcohol for the month of January in a phenomenon known as Dry January.
Among its many health benefits, the choice to abstain from alcohol has been shown to lead to better sleep and better immune systems overall. But our road toward good intentions is paved with obstacles at the office, such as happy hours, networking events, and our friendly coworker inviting us to be their drinking buddy.
To stay firm to our resolution, we need to learn how to navigate the inevitable temptations to drink. Here’s how.
Try no excuses
You do not have to go into a long defense of your decision when you are put into situations where drinks are available. Politely but firmly decline when a bartender or colleague offers you a drink. Then move on.
Bobby Coffey, founding member of the DC Recovery Community Alliance, recommends visualizing the social situation and how you will respond before it starts: “Imagine the different direct ways you will be offered alcohol and say ‘no’ to each of those before you even leave the house. You may be surprised at just how hard it is for you to say ‘no’ and also surprised at how easy it is for people to just accept ‘no’ and move on.”
Try enlisting allies
Your “no” should be enough to stop drinks from being offered, but if you find yourself still tempted, enlist reinforcements in your work allies. Tell your trusted colleagues that you are embarking on a Dry January and have them attend events with you.
Coffey says you can “ask them to step in with a distraction if your ‘no’ is starting to waver.”
You can try brushing off unwanted attention with humor as your defense.
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