If someone is trying to shove a beer into your other hand and not taking "Thanks, but I'm good" for an answer, there are ways to demur without being labeled Captain Buzzkill: "I'm driving" or "I'm cutting back." I'm not normally a fan of subterfuge, but such responses work well for recovering alcoholics and secretly pregnant women when full honesty would be irrelevant and potentially disruptive.
But none of that will fool your current co-workers, who know all too well that you Do Not Drink. So, see if that friendly associate can get you invited past the velvet rope. Once your colleagues realize that you are not judging them (right?) and want to socialize, they may start inviting you — especially if you're occasionally willing to play designated driver.
If your sobriety continues to be a handicap, perhaps your workplace is suffering from a maturity deficit (party pictures plastered on Facebook) or you're in the wrong line of business ("Throughout my career, this has always been a problem"). A change of scene may be worth a shot.
Karla L. Miller writes an advice column on navigating the modern workplace. Each week she will answer one or two questions from readers. Miller has written for and edited tax publications for 16 years, most recently for the accounting firm KPMG's Washington National Tax office. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find her on Twitter, @KarlaAtWork.