I probably don't need to tell you that alcohol and tobacco go hand-in-hand. New quitters are tender. Putting yourself into a social setting where you're tempted to drink alcohol too soon after quitting can be dangerous. Don't rush it. The time will come when you can have a drink without it triggering the urge to smoke, but don't expect that to be within the first month, or perhaps even the first few months.

We're all a little different in how we move through the process of kicking nicotine addiction, so relax any preconceived notions you might have about how long recovery should take. Instead, focus on your own situation. If there is an engagement coming up that involves alcohol and you feel nervous about that, take it as a signal to proceed with caution. Consider postponing until you're feeling stronger. And if that's not an option, work out a plan ahead of time for how you'll manage the event smoke-free.

It's no exaggeration that you are working hard to save your life by quitting smoking, so give cessation the attention it deserves. Keep your quit program in the top slot of your list of priorities for as long as it takes. You should do whatever you need to do to maintain your smobriety -- period.

Alcohol lowers inhibitions, and that's not a good thing for a person who is working to quit smoking. While under the influence of alcohol, it's common to think that smoking just one or just for tonight is okay and that we can resume our quit programs tomorrow...

Such has been the ruin of many a good quit.

There is no such thing as "just one" cigarette when it comes to nicotine addiction.

Look ahead at what you may be faced with when attending holiday events this year and plan a strategy to manage them smoke-free. Preparation fortifies resolve and will allow you to meet the challenges that come with confidence.

Tips to Manage Holiday Drinking Smoke-Free

Don't Drink

The obvious first choice is simple: Avoid alcohol entirely. Drink cranberry juice with seltzer water or another non-alcoholic beverage of choice. No one but you and the bartender will know the difference.

Know Your Limits

If you do drink alcohol, be careful. Limit the amount of alcohol you consume and don't overdo it. Substitute every other drink with a glass of spring water and lemon. It will dilute the alcohol you've consumed, keep you hydrated, and will give you something to sip on while socializing.

Plan an Escape Route

If people are smoking close by and it begins to bother you, have a plan of action in mind. Can you explain that you've recently quit smoking and ask them to refrain? If not, excuse yourself for a few minutes and go to the bathroom or step outside for some fresh air. When cravings to smoke hit, the key is to quickly change your focus. Interrupt your thoughts and you'll snap yourself out of junkie thinking.

Don't Go

If you're worried about maintaining your quit program at the holiday party this year, consider simply not going. No, I'm not advocating avoiding life, I'm encouraging you to remember your priorities. Think of it this way...early on, smoking cessation takes a lot of effort and focus for most people. In order to succeed, your quit program must be in the top slot of your priority list for as long as it takes.

If you fear the temptation to drink will be more than you can handle, don't push yourself. There will be more parties next year. Give yourself the time you need to heal from this addiction. Do the work now to change your relationship to smoking, and the day will come when drinking alcohol no longer triggers the urge to smoke.

If you are unsure if non-alcoholic beverages will be available, bring your own. Stay away from the bar area. If offered a drink, just say, 'No, thank you.' You do not have to explain. If there is food available, be sure to eat, so that you are not hungry. If you feel that you are becoming tempted to drink, leave early. Stay busy. Talk to others, dance, etc. Don't give yourself time to think about the fact that you are not drinking. Don't drink, no matter what!

If others at the event are drinking, chances are they will never know that you only have cola in your glass. If you are new to sobriety and are concerned about attending an event where alcohol will be served, arrive late and leave early. Take a sober friend, or at least their phone number. You are probably not the only one at the party who is clean and sober. Find the winners and hang out with them. Don't even think about trying the NA beer and yes, the Egg Nog is spiked. If someone has told you that you are "codependent" don't end up going home with the one who wears the lampshade or dances on the table. Allow them the dignity of learning from their own mistakes, don't "rescue" them from hitting bottom, and run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.

1.Clue in a friend or two. If you tell your BFF before the party that you plan on staying sober, you'll be more likely to stick to your word than if you keep it to yourself.

2.Plan to be the designated driver (only if you have a license, of course). That way, you'll have an easy, non-negotiable excuse for not drinking. Plus, your friends will totally owe you one.

3.If someone tries to hand you a drink, say you have to be somewhere later. To them, it'll sound like you're saying, "This party might be cool enough for you, but I've got bigger and better places to go." (Note: this doubles as a great excuse if you ever show up at a party wearing nice clothes while everyone else is dressed casually.)

4.Carry around a cup filled with soda or water. People will assume you're drinking booze, and there's no reason why you have to set the record straight for them.

5.If people keep bothering you to take a drink, say you're having enough fun without it. It'll probably make them wonder why they aren't secure enough to have fun without being wasted. (Besides, you'll be telling the truth.)

6.If you're still not comfortable, leave the friggin' party. People who don't know how to party without drinking - and without forcing everyone around them to drink - aren't worth partying with.


1.Don't be fooled: the real reason everyone at parties wants you to drink is because they're insecure. They don't want to be around anyone sober who might notice what sloppy drunks they're being.

2.You might think you're the only person at the party who isn't drinking, but that's probably not true. Other people might be sober but are choosing not to draw attention to themselves. These people are your party soulmates! Stick with them, and you're sure to have a fun time.

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3 Replies

  • I apologise for putting this on the daily chat but it wouldn't let me submit it anywhere else. :O

  • Jilly

    I am going to go through this again & again and work something out because I did NOT give it all enough thought before going out on Thursday and although I did not smoke (thank goodness) I did get myself into quite a bad way. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS ... I wish I had thought about it all before .... never mind ...did NOT end up in A&E or anything...

    Jilly so many thanks again


  • Hi Jonathan glad it has helped. your doing fine. :)

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