Some of us may have decided that an alcohol-free month of October is a challenge or experience we want to try… and for some, the link with making some funds for Macmillan will add incentive. I confess that it’s not for me now as I don’t drink much and already have a dwindling tolerance of alcohol but I admire and respect anyone who decides to try different ways of doing things with the aim of enhancing their life.
A daily drink or two can be an easy habit to slip into and it may be those socialising opportunities have all become centred around alcohol. This may be something you have considered and chosen to change, if only for a little while. For some people, the discipline of going alcohol-free for a month gives reassurance that they are not alcohol dependent.
It may be that you, like me, are not committing to ‘Go Sober for October’ but someone around you; a friend or family member is. This can then cause a change for us too. Often inflicted change is something we feel resistant to. However, healthy friendships involve mutual support when it is needed and this may just be one of those situations.
So how can we support a friend who has opted for a month-long alcohol famine?
Encouragement and acceptance are a good start. You may look inward and be feeling like you’re losing a drinking buddy, that the banter won’t be as good, that giving yourself permission to drink a lot is going to be less comfortable. But for the sake of friendship, be generous and try and put this aside. It is likely that there are more positive things about your friendship than your ability to drink alcohol together.
Respect their decision and make it easy by not drawing attention to or questioning their choice of a Coke or Tonic Water ”Oh come on, I’ve got you a pint, one won’t harm.” is neither helpful or supportive. Alcohol does not define a person and many people can be more or at least as good company without it.
Suggest a non-alcoholic meetup which could be a coffee, bite to eat, a gym session, game of golf or catching a film ….and maybe you will find you enjoy doing something different for a change too.
Embrace their change and be as supportive as possible, your friendship will be stronger for it.
And, if you’re lucky, it will probably be a cheaper round and you may get a lift home!