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    Drink Less for Strong Bones

    Tips to avoid getting tipsy.

    Drink Less for Strong Bones

    Summer barbecues, family get-togethers, after-work happy hours -- they're full of temptations. Everyone's drinking, having a good time. If you're used to imbibing, it's hard to say no. But if you're goal is strong bones, these tips will help you drink less.

    "It's difficult to deny yourself," says Murray Dabby, LCSW, director of the Atlanta Center for Social Therapy. "Therefore, you have to find something to say 'yes' to. ... That's the more winning strategy."

    Saying 'yes' to healthy living is a good first step, Dabby tells WebMD. "Take the focus off 'not drinking' or 'not smoking.'"

    As a coach and therapist, he asks people to understand their relationship to alcohol. "That relationship says a lot about how you see yourself -- 'I'm socially awkward, I'm shy, I'm anxious, I'm insecure, and alcohol makes me feel more comfortable.'"

    To overcome shyness sans alcohol, here's his suggestion: "As Shakespeare would say, 'Life is a stage. Create a new performance for yourself. Act like the person you want to be," Dabby says.

    If parties make you self-conscious, here's a positive approach: Act like you're the co-host. "Focus on making people comfortable rather than worrying about yourself," he explains. "Go around greeting everyone, asking how they know the host. Perform as if you're the friendliest person at the party. You won't need alcohol to cover up your nervousness."

    Another tactic: Pretend that you're tipsy. If you love going to karaoke bars but can't enjoy it without alcohol, simply pretend, Dabby suggests. "Order ginger ale, but act like you're tipsy." That's the approach that one person took, he tells WebMD. "It was very successful for him. He found he could ham it up without alcohol."

    If after-work happy hours are a problem, don't focus on drinking: "Focus on getting to know your co-workers. Be curious, ask questions. Focus on relationship-building, because that's a positive thing,” Dabby says. “Order ginger ale or another nonalcoholic drink. You don't have to tell anyone you have trouble with alcohol."

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    Reviewed on June 21, 2010

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