Alcohol-Free at Work?
Tips for non drinkers

Editor’s Note: Peggy wrote an article on being sober curious for our March/April 2023 print issue. Check it out here.

I always wonder how non-drinkers cope with alcohol-related activities in the workplace. I have worked at many places where the whole social culture revolved around drinking. One employer had a kitchen stocked with booze, beer and wine. It was shocking to see co-workers imbibing during the workday. The justification was that alcohol made them “more creative.” 

We’re hearing and learning more about the harmful effects of alcohol. The good news is that there is also more messaging around sober living and the importance of making non-drinking normal. Whether you’re an employer or hosting a social event, here are some recommendations on how to include non-drinkers and drinkers at your event.

  1. Sass up the drink options. Make available a concoction that is as yummy as the ones served with alcohol. There are many alcohol-free spirits on the market and recipes to go along with them. It’s never been easier and cooler to serve fun, alcohol-free beverages.
  2. Shush! If someone declines alcohol, don’t ask them why. It’s none of your business and you are not owed any explanation. The important thing is that they are there to socialize, just like you, and focusing on their non-drinking is not an option. If their abstinence makes you uncomfortable, it’s time for you to reflect inward and ask yourself why it bothers you.
  3. Move beyond “drinks.” There are a lot of options for fun that don’t have to include alcohol – go bowling, check out mini-golf, take a cooking or art class. If your team is virtual, there are interactive games available for video conferences. Google “games to play on virtual calls.” 

Let’s stop making alcohol the cornerstone of connection and make it more about the activity.

About Author

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Peggy is a mission-driven leader, entrepreneur, social explorer and advocate for all things moving women forward. She is currently employed with the American Cancer Society and is the founder of SheTaxi.

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