What do you do when you are in the company of friends that still drink? 

I went on a weekend away last week. My friend is a big drinker. That’s her choice, but it’s certainly not mine. It did fill me with trepidation. Our trips away would always involve drinking. Much hilarity and fun, but certainly a lot of alcohol.

Since I moved away, our meetups are less frequent, so even after almost two years being alcohol free, I felt apprehensive. I was sure I wouldn’t drink. I’ve absolutely no desire to do so, but I also knew my friend would. She has no desire to stop.

What was most uncomfortable about it was that I wouldn’t get my needs met. I knew my friend would. A trip away without alcohol would not be considered by her. But what would I get from the experience? I knew I had to get my wants from the trip out on the table and communicate them.

Really, for a friendship to continue to be balanced, I needed to know that there would be give and take. So, whilst my friend got what she wanted, so did I.

We enjoyed watching a matinee play together, she enjoyed her wine, I enjoyed my sparkling water. We went for a meal together; she enjoyed her wine, and I enjoyed my mocktails. We went for a beautiful sunrise walk around London, something that I adore since being alcohol free.

Making my needs known and setting expectations is something I’ve learned is incredibly important to me. It’s something I never used to really consider. It was far easier to go along with the easy option and please.

Now I’m clear on what I do and don’t want, I’m comfortable that my friend’s choice is her choice, also mine is mine. Going forward, I know that these weekends away do not need to be solely spent drinking in a bar, and my friend has seen this too.

One of the biggest challenges when you quit alcohol is finding your own circle of people who are in the same situation and can act as your support network. That is what our community is for! You can read more about it below and we hope to see you there!

– Karen

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