Depending on the culture of your office, it’s likely that alcohol is either present at events, dinners, and meetings out, or that it’s even stocked in your breakroom.
As a sober person, happy hours may feel anything but. Don’t let anyone shame you into thinking that being the only sober person in the room “should be” fun. It’s almost always not.
So what do you do when Kevin from accounting hands you a frosted cup from the new frozen margarita machine and you feel triggered, embarrassed, uncomfortable, and left out?
Here are a few tips to dealing with alcohol at work:
- Avoid it altogether. If you can reasonably avoid the event or beer-stocked fridge, this is the easiest solution. Fear of missing out is real, but are you really that interested in another gag gift exchange? Read a book. Get a few extra hours of sleep. Wear your ugly Christmas sweater to the grocery store. You don’t have to turn down the drink you’re never offered.
- If you can’t get out of the event or meeting, bring your own beverage or you’ll end up with the ostentatious water cup. Or even worse, tepid water. (Pausing to dry heave.) Bring a mocktail or your favorite diet soda.
- Leave early. The later you stay, the lower your guard will be down. “I want to wake up early tomorrow,” doesn’t usually invite many questions.
- Have a sober friend on text standby. The sober community is deep and wide. Plus, you need someone to swap “whose coworkers get the sloppiest when drunk” stories with.
- Have your decline line down. “I don’t drink,” is straight forward enough, but if that’s something you don’t feel comfortable sharing, “I’m on a diet plan-–no alcohol,” isn’t a lie.
What helps you when you’re around alcohol at work?