Saturday, December 31, 2016

You have permission not to drink this New Year's Eve


   

     "Red or white?" is the traditional question. When your answer is "neither," it can throw a wrench in the gears of festivity.
     I remember standing in the fancy kitchen of a fancy home before a fancy dinner party. Our hostess, bottle in each hand, realized that she had a guest who, astonishingly, did not drink. She looked desperately around, then ended up sloshing tap water into a cut crystal glass and thrusting it into my hand.
     That worked.
     The holidays are upon us. With the biggest drinking holiday of the year lining up with Saturday night, some people are trying to navigate the arrival of New Year's without ending the weekend in the hospital.
     Doing publicity for my new book on recovery, I've had a number of hosts — TV, radio, podcasts — ask, "How do you cope with the holidays?" I offer some glib reply, but what I really want to say is, "You know Scott, the very same not-drinking-today strategy I use on March 2 and Sept. 3 also works amazingly well on Christmas and Dec. 31."
     But that's condescending. And simplistic. I understand it's hard for many people to get their heads around going to a holiday party and not drinking. It's like going to the movies and hanging out in the lobby. What's the point?
     A few tips.
     First, recognize it is possible. People do it....

     To continue reading, click here.

11 comments:

  1. Honestly and truly it's like you are making it up, even though I know you are not. Alcohol provides fun and camaraderie? Really? This isn't some giant trick most of the world is playing on me? This is what happens to me when I have a drink: about 2/3 of the way through I start to think " Gosh, why am I so tired." Then I start to want to go to sleep so badly it's all I can think about.

    Which is why when I drink ( only with spicy food because it quells the heat) I really try to limit myself to half a glass, never ever going over that 3/4. Most of the time I don't drink at all. I have seldom felt like anyone noticed let alone had an opinion about it. When they did I always acted like they were insane. Why would you know or care what I'm drinking? Something must be wrong with you. Probably an attitude easier to have when one isn't feeling like they are missing out is something.

    Mostly feel I lucky to have this physiology. But still on some level I can't believe my experience is so different than most people's.

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    Replies
    1. Annie, I'm the same. Only a few sips of wine can be taken, certainly nothing stronger, or it's naptime.

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    2. Sure it provides fun. Haven't you sat back and watched drunks act like fools or seen walks of shame? Rather entertaining.

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    3. Count yourself among the fortunate to not be cursed with that "magnificent obsession" https://itunes.apple.com/pk/podcast/magnificent-obsession/id976827362?mt=2

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    4. Annie- You've touched on a key problem in society. Most people have a very hard time with the concept of there being other people, with vastly different conditions and opinions. I don't know that your situation is "so different than most people's." Maybe a quarter of Americans don't drink at all. But at least 10 percent are problem drinkers. That's a lot. Just to show it isn't only you, when I drink, I was stunned by the notion there were people who didn't. It seemed insane, almost impossible.

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  2. During a period of my working life I sometimes had to attend official functions and felt out of place without a glass in my hand. My usual tactic was to ask for a gin and tonic and tell the bartender to skip the gin on refills. Now I wouldn't give a damn.

    Off topic, but if there are any denizens of mid-town Manhattan among the EGDD readership allow me to extend sympathies at the closing of the Carnegie Deli, which lamentable event happens today. Some years ago I made weekly visits to an ad agency a block away and fortified myself there by breakfasting on French toast made from challah. And occasionally lunching on pastrami sandwiches that were hard to eat without dislocating one's jaw.

    Probably for the long-term good of my liver, we switched to an agency further downtown, limiting my caloric exposure.

    Tom Evans

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    1. I would do the exact same only with vodka, I could never get past the smell of gin. If I was driving I have just tonic limes all night. That only tonic habit was kinda funny when I was pregnant, but I did switch to pint glasses of tonics after I got lectured by some sweet well meaning 80+ year olds.

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  3. I've found the rewards of drinking elusive and abstinence astonishingly easy after more than 30 plus years of drinking at least some alcohol every day. The only thing I miss is the anticipation of having a good time. The good time happens just as rarely now as it ever did of course.

    john

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  4. I havent had alchohol in about fourty years. Had owned a tavern at a young age. No problem. After that, use to go out to clubs, dancing all night. No problem. Would order a 7 and water, dance, when that drink was gone, Id order just water. Have maybe two alcoholic drinks all night. The Jane Byrnes Summer Fest on Navy Pier opened. Honey, his brother and I went as often as possible. And drank beer. It wasnt long before I always wanted an excuse to have a beer. My dad became an alchoholic so after a couple weeks, it hit me that geez, I keep hoping someone stopping by will bring beer, and then I always want another! So I cut off all alchohol. Any "try this" semi-sip tastes only like rubbing alchohol after a few years of abstention. As to social gatherings. The bigger they are, the fewer the people who care. It's the small, friendly groups who were not only appalled that I didnt want a drink but some were almost disgusted. Seemed to think I was judging them or a "Debbie Downer" or somehow ruining their good time. The good news is, as maturity set in, that stopped. The bad news is, I soon after had to give up caffine. Not having a cup of coffee caused as much a social question mark as did not drinking! That's the one I still crave.

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  5. I havent had alchohol in about fourty years. Had owned a tavern at a young age. No problem. After that, use to go out to clubs, dancing all night. No problem. Would order a 7 and water, dance, when that drink was gone, Id order just water. Have maybe two alcoholic drinks all night. The Jane Byrnes Summer Fest on Navy Pier opened. Honey, his brother and I went as often as possible. And drank beer. It wasnt long before I always wanted an excuse to have a beer. My dad became an alchoholic so after a couple weeks, it hit me that geez, I keep hoping someone stopping by will bring beer, and then I always want another! So I cut off all alchohol. Any "try this" semi-sip tastes only like rubbing alchohol after a few years of abstention. As to social gatherings. The bigger they are, the fewer the people who care. It's the small, friendly groups who were not only appalled that I didnt want a drink but some were almost disgusted. Seemed to think I was judging them or a "Debbie Downer" or somehow ruining their good time. The good news is, as maturity set in, that stopped. The bad news is, I soon after had to give up caffine. Not having a cup of coffee caused as much a social question mark as did not drinking! That's the one I still crave.

    ReplyDelete