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22 tips for 2022: How to make it easier to pass on alcohol

Photograph of a row of wine cups like at a holiday office party, with one cup of sparkling water at the end of the table.
Becky Harlan/NPR

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.


Interested in taking a break from alcohol yourself? Here are six ways to make that happen — and, holidays or not, you don't need to drink to celebrate.

22 tips for 2022 is edited and curated by Dalia Mortada, Arielle Retting, Janet W. Lee, Beck Harlan, Beth Donovan and Meghan Keane. This tip comes from an episode of Life Kit hosted by Allison Aubrey and produced by Andee Tagle.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.