In Jersey Shore, Pa., Mary Baier is a non-drinker who will likely stay home with her husband this year for New Year's Eve. In the past, they've left parties right after midnight. "It's kind of hard to have a good time once people get drunk," she said.
Cathy Griffin, 54, of Los Angeles has been sober for five years. "I'm a free woman now and go about my business and personal life wherever there is alcohol and barely give it any thought," she said, "but in the early days of my recovery, it was hell!"
Instead of salivating while watching the wine meet the lips of the guy across the room, offer to help cut fruit and veggies or rinse some glasses, " anything to get your mind off the fact that you can't drink," she said.
"Look for people who are not drinking to start up a conversation. Believe it or not, there are more people who are not sloshed than you might think," Griffin added. "Make a game or a challenge out of finding the folks who are not drinking."
And perhaps most important of all, she said, "Prepare before the battle." Think about what you're going to drink before you get there. Stay away from caffeine-laden energy drinks and go straight to the bar and ask for a non-alcoholic beverage with a smile.
"I found for me, I didn't have to stay all night," Griffin said. "If I felt uncomfortable, even if it wasn't already midnight, I gave myself permission to leave or go outside and call a sober buddy, and most importantly, breathe — the moment will pass."
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