Yes, that really is a Sprite, have you got a problem with it?

So it’s the silly season again and office Christmas parties are breaking out all over the City. A glass of bubbly, a beer or even a vodka and soda perhaps, whatever is your chosen poison…..but NO. What if you decided that you didn’t want to drink alcohol, that you didn’t like the taste, that the consumption of even a single drink made you feel tired the next day, dramatically slowing down your productivity… what if you were a recovering alcoholic?

These are all valid reasons for saying NO to alcohol. But that doesn’t stop many folk from thinking otherwise. At separate events this week, twice I was given strange looks upon choosing the non-alcoholic option. One situation involved a colleague with whom only weeks ago I had been involved in tense discussions regarding a particular deal that had gone horribly wrong for him at the last hour, as I spotted a significant capital issue on his deal. Now, with pens down and a more jovial atmosphere, his reaction upon seeing that I was not drinking was like, “it’s Christmas, what’s wrong with you?!”   My option not to drink alcohol at his Christmas party clearly was not cool.

It is true that being a practising ‘yogibanker’ in the heart of testosterone-fuelled trading floors is not easy, but this year I really decided to make a stance by not indulging in a bevy or two at the office Christmas dos. Having the conviction and standing up for what you believe is right for you is a sign of inner strength and devotion – seeing through all the peer pressure to conform to society’s ills and misguided ways. I don’t know if it’s all the meditation I’ve been doing of late, but it would’ve been difficult to foresee me not indulging in anything alcoholic (with the sacrifice of next day’s productivity) during previous festive seasons…

Most of the people we encounter in life are strangers in more ways than one, yet the amount of times we feel compelled to act in a certain way, often to the detriment of our well being, is endless. There is something to be said about alcohol, how it’s like a social glue, but does it have to be this way? Alcoholism is one extreme, but not everyone needs alcohol to have a great time.

So, my advice is to stay true to your inner convictions and beliefs, no matter what they are. Saying no to alcohol is only one small part of it: You will be stronger for it overall. Stare down anyone who challenges you with quiet inner determination –  ten Sprites will easily beat ten vinos any day, especially when it comes to your wallet, your health, your pride and last but not least…getting home from the office christmas party in one piece, safe and sound.

Don’t get me wrong though, this article is not about refraining from drinking alcohol; I for one love a glass of fine, dry chablis. Rather, it’s about choosing when to indulge and being mindful about it. That’s all.

Merry Christmas.

YB

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