Whatever your reason for not drinking, it's a decision that you make for yourself and should stick to if you feel that it's the right thing to do. That being said, teetotaling should also never inhibit your ability to enjoy a party. Participating in total abstinence from drinking does not mean that you're weird or that you'll never be the life of the party.
Quite the opposite. With a clear head and sure step, you'll soon find yourself finding your footing (so to speak) in any social setting where alcoholic beverages are flowing. While going full teetotal isn't celebrated in society today, there are plenty of young people who avoid alcoholic substances for a variety of reasons.
So, for those of you who aren't yet sure how to approach a party stone cold sober, here are a few tricks to help you get to hang of things.
1. Let the host know your situation.
If you're in recovery, pregnant, or simply abstaining from alcohol, and you know your host well enough to share the fact that you're not drinking libations, tell them. While this isn't necessary, being honest about your situation (and assuring your host that you have no issue with others consuming alcohol) will help the party go more smoothly.
That way, should you ever find yourself in an awkward situation or feeling pressured by other guests to enjoy some ardent spirits, your host will be able to come to your aid and escort you to a less awkward situation.
2. Have Support.
Whether that means having a friend on speed dial or knowing the number for your getaway car, sometimes you will encounter too many nosy questions and prying eyes.
If they don't abate, sometimes it's better to officially move on to that event you have tucked away in your back pocket where you know you're going to have a grand old time.
3. Avoid annoying questions with the right garnishes.
However, you can often avoid most awkwardness by garnishing your drink correctly. Whether you pop in an umbrella or you settle on the always-effective lime, having an appropriately garnished drink will help you blend into the crowd.
Those who don't know you would never think twice that your sparkling water isn't an official vodka soda with a slice of lime.
4. You might find yourself paying more than expected.
Even though the garnish on your glass may be the only link your drink has to its alcoholic cousin, unfortunately, your choice can often still be more expensive than the boozy one.
Should you find yourself at an event that supplies drinks in exchange for beverage vouchers, you may be politely told by the bartender that those little pieces of paper only work for alcoholic drinks.
What?! It costs more to not inebriate yourself? Yep. Sometimes, you'll find yourself having to dip into your pocket for that juice or sparkling water. Don't worry though - just breathe and stick to your intentions. All will not be lost over $3, whether you live in New York or England or Kentucky.
3. Always bring a backup drink.
So that you don't find yourself scrambling to pay for a drink at bar or relegated to tap water at a house party, make sure that you always bring something to drink with you.
If you're going to be at someone's home, go ahead and bring a case of LaCroix, everyone loves it anyway, especially as a mixer for alcoholic liquors.
If you're going out on the town, just sneak a can into your purse and ask for an empty glass at the bar. No one will tell on you, and this is just good abstinence sense.
6. You are not a babysitter.
Just because you're sober, that does not make you the defacto DD or the responsible party. You are there to have a great time just as much as everyone else, despite what our shunning of a teetotal society may lead everyone to believe. So don't let yourself slide into the babysitting role.
Besides, your friends are adults, too. They should be just as responsible as you are.
7. Have fun!
Don't listen to those naysayers who claim that you need to be intoxicated to cut a rug and let loose. It's just not true. You should absolutely sing karaoke, dance like no one is watching, and socialize with the best of them.
Just whatever you do, don't sit in a corner and sulk like you're a time traveler from the temperance movement who has solely taken a teetotal pledge based on national statistics. No one and nothing is holding you back from being your best self.