Alcohol has its place in society but not behind the wheel -- and not at all if you're the designated driver, responsible adults agree. For university students and baby boomers alike, just one drink of alcohol can impair the senses to a degree, and just one seems to lead too easily to another.
The trick for pulling off abstinence when others are drinking is to be resolute from the start by bringing, or ordering, a tasty alternative, experts say.
"Today you can actually get a zero-alcohol, whisky-flavored drink," says Sylvie Seguinaud at ArKay Beverages Inc., a leading name in this field. "We worked for several years to produce a genuine simulation of whisky for its taste, looks and aroma -- and to date, the public response has been phenomenal. Drink it straight up, on the rocks or with your favourite mixers. This fall, a pre-mixed version with cola will be on grocery shelves, too."
And yet, a few pointers on how to turn down a drink effectively are always welcomed, especially for student about to head back to school. Here's a few tips, courtesy of ArKay.
* Don't feel alone or less cool for abstaining since a good slice of the trending is doing it, too. Recent stats from the American College Health Association show that at least one-quarter of undergraduates are non-drinkers. Even those who do drink occasionally don't do it every week.
* Pour your own drinks and if anyone tries to persuade you differently, decline gracefully and simply resume the conversation.
* Enjoy the setting as much as everyone else; some will be drinking, some won't, and no one needs to judge anyone else. If the party gets too rowdy for you, just leave quietly since no one will likely notice.
* If peer pressure persists, use a few deterrent tricks:
* State a reason that no one can dispute, like health or driving;
* Keep your non-alcohol drink topped up to avoid offers from a helpful host;
* At a bar, order your beverage with lime, olives, cherries and a stir-stick to look like a mixed drink;
* If someone puts a drink in your hand, accept it but don't drink it; find a way to discard it discreetly;
* Ahead of time, tell the bartender your drink-of-choice and to omit the alcohol if anyone buys you something different.
* Offer to be the designated driver. This keeps you resolute and keeps your friends from pressuring you.
* If partying, recognize your responsibilities, even alcohol free. Use a buddy system to watch out for each other and remember: if you are present in an unlawful situation you may be in just as much trouble as the heavy drinkers.