Is drinking with your coworkers THAT important? I’ve been sober for 6 months but I don’t like advertising that at work. I don’t enjoy going to happy hours with coworkers. Didn’t even when I did drink. It’s also just so discriminatory against mothers and fathers who need to be home after work. But I got invited to a small happy hour 40 minutes away from my house by some people I don’t work with but would love to one day and I don’t have the time or care to go but hate that I feel like I need to.

likeupliftingsmarthelpful
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I think a lot of it depends on what you mean by ‘six months sober’. I haven’t had a drink in over 15 years, but that was a personal choice. If you’re sober now because you’re an alcoholic, it’s an entirely different situation. I go to happy hours all the time, and the fact that others drink and I don’t doesn’t bother me, I really enjoy the social interaction. If you’re an alcoholic, and especially only six months sober, you shouldn’t put yourself in a position that could ruin all of the hard work you’ve put into yourself.

If you really just don’t like happy hours, but you want to work with these people that badly, propose something else, like a lunch, sometime. You don’t need to tell anyone why you’d rather do something different than a happy hour, regardless of what the reason is. But relationships are made in social settings outside of the office, and relationships drive the world, business or otherwise. There’s any number of ways to approach the issue, you just have to be a little creative.

And a final thought. If these people, or anyone really, are dead set on the only social activity they want to participate in is happy hours (hypothetically, I don’t think you actually said they were), you have to ask yourself if you really want to work with people who can’t have fun without alcohol.

likesmarthelpful

I’m the person who plans social outings for my company. We almost always have an original in company event during work hours (movie screening, potluck, etc.) and then offer anyone who wants to join to move to a secondary location for happy hour. Maybe request your job include options for those who don’t drink! Pregnant people, breastfeeding people, sober people, and certain religious affiliations all effect someone’s relationship with drinking and it’s not too much to ask for networking events that work for you.

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If you don’t want to go don’t go.

The reality is that people build relationships with people they know and spend time with, and drinking together has been a way that people have been getting to know each other and spend time together since the dawn of civilization.

If you don’t want to participate, you’ll have to figure out how to build relationships a different way.

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What other options? And what if those other options also have people who don't want to participate? By your definition, that would also be unfair.

The reality is, groups have different preferences. You need to learn to adjust.

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Club soda and lime. You don’t have to go to all of them all the time, but I think you should muster some energy for this one as it sounds somewhat important. Whether it’s fair or not that people bond over drinking when you don’t drink doesn’t matter; the truth is that is how connections happen a lot of the time. Source: Sober 9 years and choosing my networking battles all the time so I get it

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And by the way (and I’ll only speak for me) no networking event is more important to me than my sobriety so I say the above with the caveat that I would not be going if I felt at risk

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I know it’s not the only issue about going but nobody should judge you for having a soda or iced tea. I’ve started to get tired of the notion of drinking but I still show face a little bit to the point of the poster above.

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Lots of places make great NA cocktails too. I’ve been trying to cut back and you’d be surprised how easy it is to blend in!

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I, too, am sober. I tend to avoid happy hours at work, since I’ve learned nothing good comes from alcohol. I don’t believe relationships are made over a bottle. - I have to remind myself that I’m not missing anything and instead will be grateful the next morning when I wake up NOT hung over with a headache. As someone previously said, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. And, your privacy is your right.

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Dysfunctional? Yes, that is why I am sober, my friend… I am an addict. My hat is off to you for your ability to limit yourself to two drinks a night. We don’t know the OPs situation, and don’t need to know — simply offering my experience as it relates to OPs post.

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I don’t drink and I’m a mom. I don’t prioritize happy hours but I think my peers have stronger relationships than me. However I’m a high performer and the people I work for seem happy with me so I haven’t been held back up to this point.

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✊🏽

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Wow. Loved how you cared about moms and dads. I feel like my career has stalled after being a mom as I haven't been able to stay late at work or have catchups with people.

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P1 and TM1 thank you! Ya these people are ridiculous. I really hope I manage a lot of people one day and out an end to this BS wherever I end up working

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If you have to go to save face play the medical card. I can’t drink because I have an autoimmune disease so I just say sorry I can’t drink it’s medically dangerous and people shut up pretty fast. Nobody wants to get in trouble for trying to convince a sick person to drink that’s not exactly a good look

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True this does work.

I have an autoimmune condition and always use this because I am tired of drinking and being hungover for 799 days after having a sip of white claw 🤡

Everything is bloody discriminatory. We’re not supposed to go out because some people can’t make it? Is it just mothers and fathers were discriminating against? How about those that care after their parents? The dog owners? You don’t like it then don’t come. F**ng hell.

likesmart

I know right. Word has lost all meaning. People legit think happy hours are discriminatory these days. That's a new level of woke.

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ANYTHING you put before your sobriety you WILL lose. Politely tell them no. Good luck.

likeuplifting

Allergic to alcohol. Or can’t because of medication. Plenty of ways to handle it without needing to get into your sobriety.

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I just order club soda no matter who I’m with. But as for feeling obligated to go, we need to remember that building relationships is important for our own careers and futures. You don’t need to stay long. I have found that if I go for a little while, and leave before people get drunk, people know I came and think of me positively. I don’t always go either. So when I do, people know I made the effort and they appreciate it.

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I’ve been sober for almost 10 years. I started my professional career while I was in recovery. My overall performance has let me excel in my career. I it’s important to build relationships with my colleagues. The office sets up outings to top golf which I attend. Also, just talking with my colleagues during engagements and eating lunch with everybody 1-2 days a week has been more than enough networking for me.

likehelpful

Networking is important. Drinking itself isn’t. Unfortunately after-work happy hours are likely not going anywhere, but they’re not the only way to network. Invite people out to lunch, or coffee. And if you do feel that going to a happy hour would be beneficial - club soda as others have mentioned, and you’re on antibiotics if anyone actually asks. (They probably won’t.)

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I spent a lot of my twenties going to work HHs and networking events with 🥃
Not a ton ever came of it to be honest
I have some friends from it but professionally not much

Best networking I had was in graduate school and random conversations I’d have with colleagues in the office :)

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Coordinate something with those same folks over lunch or breakfast one day instead

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From my experience team happy hours are normally have a stronger staff presence. Not all the time but usually the managers and above come for 20-30 minutes take care of the tab and leave for family obligations and from my experience it’s pretty rare for partners to go all the time.

With that said it’s not required and in your case it’s not even co workers so not sure why you feel obligated to go. No different then friends inviting you out to dinner and declining.

Keep in mind there are other ways to network and build relationships with your team and people at your firm. I frequently do team lunches or coffee chats with different people to stay in touch especially since having our first child it makes attending team activities after working hours hard because I need to take care of my daughter.

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How comfortable are you with your sobriety? If you're worried about relapsing (if that's why you aren't drinking), then don't go. But if you feel you could go and just have club soda or something else, then go and network. If you're more worried about announcing that you're sober, it's OK to fib a bit here and just say you're on a medication where you shouldn't drink.

IMO- it's not about the drinking, it's about the comraderie.

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I always felt these type of networking things should be during regular work hours.

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You can’t. But if it’s work sponsored I think they should be during regular work hours. Everyone is already there/available in most cases.

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