It’s common to want to take a break from booze in the new year. The best way to support your loved ones who don’t want to drink alcohol is to make sure drinking feels like a choice — not an obligation.
Asking questions like “Can I get you a drink?” or “Want another beer?” may be well-intentioned gestures of hospitality, but it can make a guest feel pressured to grab an unwanted drink, according to Dr. Tyler Oesterle, the medical director at the Mayo Clinic’s Fountain Centers, which focuses on treating addiction.
A simple change in delivery can make all the difference: Let your visitors decide what they want to drink by telling them where they can find beverages. Make sure to have nonalcoholic options available, just like you might have vegetarian options available at a dinner party for guests who don’t eat meat.
“You’re creating an atmosphere where people feel comfortable to decline and say, ‘No thank you,’ ” says David Dorschu, who heads Recovery Centers of America, an addiction treatment program.
It’s also important not to ask someone why they aren’t drinking. Many people who have tried a break from alcohol told Life Kit that their friends didn’t really “get it” — and that they felt compelled to make up excuses.