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It makes me so happy that beverage brands and social engagements are catching up with the fact that sobriety can be cool, it can be festive!

Still, if you are newly sober or sober curious, or your social circle isn’t wise yet to accommodating non-drinkers, it can feel a little intimidating to navigate boozy engagements.

My favorite piece of advice is from clinical social worker Sarah Chotkowski, who specializes in substance abuse: “Get comfortable with ‘no thank you’ being a complete sentence,” she told us. “It can be tempting to over-explain your reasons for declining a drink, and launch into a long explanation that leaves you feeling embarrassed. Practice saying ‘no thank you’ and just ending the sentence there. Practice saying it in the mirror and with friends as needed. People will move on.”

The hold this guidance has on me. More advice should place the emotional burden on those likely to pass judgment, and not those just trying to safely have a nice time.

I am sober curious myself—I have predominantly stopped drinking as of March 2020—and to complement “no thank you” I also find it helpful to surround myself with supportive and chill friends and to drop beautiful non-alcoholic aperitifs in the group text.

Check out the rest of the advice experts gave us on how to navigate social situations (and enjoy life) as a sober (in any form!) person >>>

Melanie, editor at Nessie Sightings

PS: Hosting a social engagement? Ask yourself how you’re including those who choose not to drink. The coolest parties have festive options for all attendees.

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