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Getting through the holiday party season without drinking

You're committed to not drinking at any holiday parties this year. Besides the advantage of being able to remember the parties the next day and not making a spectacle of yourself in front of family, friends or (maybe worse) people you work with, this commitment will save you from getting arrested for DUI. Georgia law enforcement officers will be out all over the Athens area, and a DUI can ruin the holidays -- and can impact you well into the future.

Sometimes, the most difficult part about not drinking on social occasions is dealing with the people around you who feel the need to make sure that everyone else is drinking. Have a short and sweet response ready. "I'm driving" should be enough. Whatever you choose to say, keep it brief. You don't need to explain yourself. If you're polite, no one has reason to be upset with you.

One way to avoid those awkward conversations is to make it a BYOF party (bring your own friends). If you've got a friend or two equally committed to not drinking, at least for one evening, it's easier to resist temptation and avoid conversations with people wondering why you're the only one drinking sparkling water.

If you can't BYOF, find one there. Look around for others who aren't drinking. They may be trying to stay under the radar, so you may have to look closely. There's probably at least one designated driver or someone else who doesn't drink for any number of reasons in the crowd. They'd likely appreciate the support and a conversation with a sober person.

Remember that you can almost always leave if the temptation or the annoying people trying to get you to try the latest holiday mixed drink are too much. You can say a couple of quick goodbyes or simply slip out the door. At least you know you'll be driving home sober. Chances are that you won't be missed as much as you think you will. If everyone's drinking, they're likely not going to notice that you left.

If your good intentions go awry and you are arrested for DUI, take the matter seriously. A DUI can carry fines, a driver's license suspension and jail time. An experienced Georgia DUI attorney can work to challenge the evidence, if there's an issue with that, or to minimize the impact of a DUI conviction on your life.