Make us your home page
Career Q&A | By Liz Reyer, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Staying sober for the holidays

QMy job includes a lot of socializing with clients, especially this time of year. The complication is that I am in recovery and have been sober for just under a year. I don't want to make a big deal out of it at the parties that I'll be attending, but I do want to stay the course. How should I handle it?

A: Stay focused on your goal and get lots of support. And remember, most people will be hoping for your success.

Consider the reasons that socializing is part of your job. Building relationships, understanding client needs, becoming attuned to individual styles — all of these remain in scope for you and are, if anything, enhanced by your sobriety. So if you have a lingering feeling that a drink is necessary to be successful in your role, set it aside.

Also consider the reasons that you stopped drinking. Anchor yourself in the positives that this choice is giving you. Remind yourself of the negatives that go with alcohol, including the possible consequences if you should choose to drink at your work events.

List all the sources of support you have. Family members and friends, meetings if you attend them, perhaps a sponsor. Don't forget internal supports, too, such as spiritual practices and exercise to maintain your health.

Know the triggers that could challenge your resolve. Certain kinds of stress, certain environments or specific individuals may make it hard. Be aware of these so you can plan for how you'll manage these situations.

Be prepared minute by minute, if necessary, making plans for a variety of settings and circumstances.

Prior to an event, set aside a few quiet minutes to reflect on your commitment to yourself and visualize your successful participation in the party as a sober person. Envision your social self — well-spoken, humorous and engaged with others — building a strong focus on a positive outcome.

Once you're there, get a beverage in your hand right away. A good host will worry if you're empty-handed, so take control of your options by getting a soda, juice or other drink.

If you're uncomfortable with openly discussing your sobriety or it is inappropriate for the particular event, manage conversation accordingly, remembering that you're in charge of how much personal information you divulge. The question, "What are you drinking?" — which is usually just intended to start a conversation — does not have to cause discomfort. It can just be answered straightforwardly, along with a lead-in to a new topic: "Sprite. Great appetizers, aren't they!"

You may, unfortunately, run into a boor who makes a big deal out of your beverage choice. In that case, you might play the "designated driver" card; say something like, "Tastes good to me"; or just conveniently spot someone across the room whom you've been looking forward to seeing.

Despite your preparations, you may have difficult moments. Give serious consideration to having a person or two at the event who will help you maintain your resolve, or have someone available if you need to call for some reinforcement.

Bravo to you for making a positive choice. Your success to date positions you to succeed through the holiday season.

Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes.

Staying sober for the holidays 12/22/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Star Tribune (Minneapolis).

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Exploratory Lab Boot Camp provides real-life technology training to students


    CLEARWATER — At this graduation ceremony featuring some of the brightest local minds in tech, it was the youngsters who stood out.

    Laszlo Leedy, 17, a senior at Shorecrest Prep, presents part of his team's project for SPC's Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. Students presented their ideas at the end of the SPC Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. The program provides real-time business training to students. This year's graduation celebrated 15 students that finished the program. 
[JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  2. Appointments at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and World of Beer highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Tampa Bay Watch, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary, has announced two new employees. Pamela Arbisi is the new development director. Her responsibilities include …

    Scott Bendert has joined the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay as the non-profit organization's Chief Financial Officer. [Company handout]
  3. Tampa's Homeowners Choice seeks to offer flood insurance in other states


    Tampa-based insurance company HCI Group Inc.'s subsidiaries are trying to expand their flood insurance offerings beyond Florida. HCI has filed with regulators to offer flood coverage in Arkansas, California, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

    Tampa-based HCI Group is trying to expand its flood insurance offerings to other states. Pictured is Paresh Patel, CEO of HCI Group. | [Courtesy of HCI Group]
  4. Home of Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman hits market at $3.45 million

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is back on the market for $3.45 million after a brief hiatus.

    The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is on the market for $3.45 million. [Courtesy of Hi Res Media]
  5. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy


    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    Is there one theme or idea that captures the Tampa Bay brand? Not really but here's one possibility. The fun-loving annual Gasparilla "Invasion" of Tampa is captured in this photo of 
The Jose Gasparilla loaded with pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on its way this past January to the Tampa Convention Center. In the future a vibrant downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg may be the better theme. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]