I have had to travel quite a bit on business, and dealing with the airports / airplanes / and coworker drink fests were hard at first. Advance planning and even rehearsals are your key. I have gone into a bathroom stall at the airport to mutter, “club Soda, please” just to be sure my favorite alcohol drink name didn’t slip out. It’s even harder when you’re sitting next to someone on the plane and you can smell it. Just keep running the tape in your head of what you’re going to order. Don’t revisit that decision. You are not drinking alcohol. Non-negotiable. Don’t let habit, boredom or FOMO break your sober momentum.
If you can get a non drinking buddy among your colleagues to have your back, even better. I did this on my first business trip. That way, I knew if something or someone overrode my resolve to not drink, my coworker promised to swoop in and pull me away from the danger zone.
Never be afraid to ask for a little help from a trusted friend. Fear of the stigma associated with choosing not to drink is something that keeps far too many people from going alcohol free even when they know that they want to and need to. Break the status quo!
You CAN do this !!
How to Tackle the Airport, Hotel, Networking Meetings, and FOMO – Gracefully Alcohol Free
1. Maneuvering the Airport Alcohol Free
Obviously start by staying out of the airport bar -go to the book store and magazine stand and buy the paperback that calls out to you, or pick up a celebrity magazine and look at photos of buff celebs. Grab a Woman’s Health and start planning your next marathon
This will make your plane trip faster. You will not have to constantly get up and pee after sitting in the airport bar downing gin and tonics. You will not be as dehydrated from the airplane. You will arrive oh so much more alert and your irritation at the overall horrible and dehumanizingness of the airport security experience will dissipate more quickly.
2. If you can live on an expense account order room service.
Do NOT go into the hotel bar and see all those sad sacks drinking their way through dinner. If passing through the hotel bar is an inevitable part of leaving the safe haven of your room get outside and go for a walk. Listen to a podcast (still love Since Right Now – badass and hilarious podcast on sober living) and breathe. Then grab some food wherever you must. And drink soda water and breathe! ( more podcasts here)
3. How to Survive those stupid networking sessions with Alcohol – Alcohol Free – Gracefully !
This is by far the hardest part but You Can Do This!
The first time you take down an alcohol fueled networking session – alcohol free – it is an exercise in survival. It will be easier next time. And the time after that you will be smooth as silk without your even wishing you could drown out the dull with booze!
But to begin with –
You do this first session in fifteen-minute increments. You just need to get through it.
IMPORTANT ! Brush your teeth before you go. It really helps –
First fifteen minutes you walk in with your minty fresh breath and you smile at the bartender and tell her you are not drinking tonight and get a soda and cranberry or a tonic with some lime.
Then you find one person in the room and ask them how they are doing and listen to their answer. You’ve now just nailed the first fifteen minutes.
Now you go on to the second fifteen-minutes, and the next person person. Tell them one good thing that is going on relevant to work and ask if they have had a similar experience. – second fifteen minutes DONE
Third fifteen-minutes. Cruise the room and see if someone else is not drinking. If so walk over to them and ask them how they are enjoying the event and point out one thing you notice in the room – this can be totally random – seriously this is just to micro map it out for yourself.
Fourth fifteen-minute increment – go refill that soft drink girl and find the person in the room that is wearing a piece of clothing you like. If you know them ask them something relevant about work. If you work with them but don’t know them ask them where they got their rockin piece of clothing and comiserate about shopping – women can do this across cultures. Then ask them what they do and tell them what you do.
You are now on your last fifteen minutes – go to the most powerful person in the room – likely the one that is responsible for you being there – and look that person straight in the eye and smile at her or him with your minty breath. Say that this has been a great evening but you are training for a marathon and need to be up at 4:45 am and need to get going.
Then flee !
Get back to your room and take a lovely scented bath bath. Brush your teeth and lounge in your awesome hotel bed and high five the crap out of yourself.
It worked for me. 😉 I hope it works for you.
Let me know how it goes BOOM Rethink the Drink
But What about the Fear of Missing Out ? or FOMO
I rarely get triggered now but when I do it’s usually when I feel ‘left out.’
For example – When the focus of the ‘do’ I’m at is solely on drinking alcohol.
But it’s not the alcohol I really want it’s the camaraderie that seems to happen between drinkers when they drink if that makes sense.
But I know it’s a false vision.
You don’t see the same people when they 3am awaken with dry mouth, anxiety, fear and self loathing of what you may have said or done.
So I shrug off these triggers and see them for the false promises that they are.
I had a huge trigger earlier this year in a restaurant as I looked around the room and saw everyone drinking alcohol.
I realised that I would never have that ‘boost’ to enjoyment that everyone else has at the swig of a glass.
That change in brain patterns that a drug can give you.
The change of mood that alcohol can bring in an instant.
And for a moment I was sad about that.
So what I was really missing was the change of brain pattern the drug alcohol brings.
Because the truth is – that’s what I drank it for……..
But I was simply hungry and a little grumpy. And so I ate my meal and I had the most gorgeous pudding/sweet to end my meal. ( more thoughts on Filling the Empty space or HALT – Alcohol Free)
And I was fine again and the trigger hadn’t killed me.
I know now that you can change your own mood by shifting stance, smiling, telling yourself you’re ok, and focusing on something good, feeling good about what you’re doing.
Or you can just accept that on this occasion you can’t change your mood and remove yourself from the situation.
What I’m trying to say is that I accept that whenever I’m triggered it’s the change in mood I’m looking for and rejoice in the fact that I have self taught myself to change my mood or accept it for what it is without a drug.
Tools for your Trip :