Going out and socialising

If you’re trying to cut down on your drinking or give up alcohol completely it can be really hard to go out and socialise with friends and family at places such as pubs, restaurants and sports venues. Special events like summer barbeques, parties and even family celebrations at home can be challenging. Alcohol often seems to play such a big part in many of these activities.

You can feel under pressure from family, friends and colleagues to join in with excess drinking which may make you feel anxious. You may even avoid social occasions because of the pressure to drink alcohol.

Plan ahead

Making a plan for when you go out can help you to keep in control of your drinking and keep you safe. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • decide if you are drinking alcohol or not before you go out
  • volunteer to be the designated driver
  • go alcohol free. Tell people you're looking after your health
  • eat something before drinking. When you drink on an empty stomach the alcohol gets absorbed more quickly into your system. It is better if the food is high in carbohydrates
  • pace yourself. Alternate each drink with a non-alcoholic drink, this will help to stop you getting dehydrated too
  • order a mocktail
  • buy your own drinks or stick to the bottle you took to the party
  • avoid getting into rounds. You often end up drinking more than you normally would and spend more too
  • do not mix your drinks
  • have your mobile charged and in credit
  • plan in advance how to get home

Useful links

One Year No Beer has tips and advice for cutting back.

Alcohol Change UK gives advice on how to say no to an alcoholic drink.

Patient suggests how you can control your drinking on a Christmas work night out.

Drink Aware for information about how small changes can lead to big results with MyDrinkaware.