How To Say No To Alcohol When It’s Offered To You

by Josh

For many of us, the people in our social circles – whether we’re talking about close friends, co-workers, or acquaintances – enjoy drinking.

Although hanging out with old drinking buddies and active alcoholics can be a disaster for a recovering alcoholic, there’s no way around the fact that the average person enjoys a casual drink now and then.

Learning To Say No

(Flickr | Luke Montague)

(Flickr | Luke Montague)

Whether you’re at a family gathering or a work function – as a recovering alcoholic – its crucial to learn how to say no to alcohol when it’s offered to you. Learning to deftly handle the social pressure to drink is a skill that every recovering alcoholic needs to develop.

The next time you’re offered a drink, here are 5 effective ways to say no to alcohol.

1. I’m A Recovering Alcoholic
This is really the most powerful way to reject a drink – if anyone still pressures you to drink after this response, then they’re definitely not someone worth spending time with. It’s also a strong acknowledgement that you’re serious a bout recovery, and that you won’t put up with any peer pressure to drink.

Of course, there are many times where you might not want to bring up your struggle with alcoholism. Whether you’re meeting a new significant other’s parents, attending a work function, or just don’t feel comfortable bringing up alcoholism every time a drink is offered to you, you may find some of the ideas below better suited to the circumstances.

2. I’m The Designated Driver
Maybe you’re willing to be open about your struggle with alcoholism, or maybe you’re not. If you’re looking for reason not to drink that’s always socially acceptable, volunteer to be the designated driver.

Not only is it the ultimate excuse not to drink, but you’re promoting the socially responsible practice of staying sober behind the wheel. It’ll also help hold you accountable – even if you feel an urge to drink, you won’t be able to do it without putting everyone in danger. Your friends will certainly having a sober driver around as well.

3. I Have To Get An Early Start In The morning
You definitely don’t want to say this with a smug tone, but people are usually understanding if they think you have something important to do the next day. This doesn’t have to be something you just use as an excuse not to drink either – not having a hangover every weekend can greatly improve your productivity. Put this time to good use to improve your life.

4. I’ll Have A Coke/Club Soda/Iced Tea/Coffee
People are much less likely to offer you a drink if you already have a drink in your hand – whether its alcoholic or not. When someone offers you a drink, you can simply ask for one of the non-alcoholic drinks above. Usually, this will allow you to side step the question of why you’re not drinking alcohol altogether – most people will just assume there’s a good reason you’re not drinking.

5. I Don’t Drink
This isn’t necessarily the most effective way to decline a drink – it almost always results in the follow up questions “why not?”.

If you use this response, it’s up to you if you want to bring up your alcoholism, if you want to go with one of the reasons listed above, or if you want to simply deflect the subject altogether. Although this response usually begs follow up questions, its a straight forward, to the point, and its true.

Other Things To Keep In Mind

While you should definitely aim to avoid social situations where alcohol will be a focal point of the event (especially in early recovery), in the long run, its virtually impossible to avoid being around alcohol. Use the suggestions above to deflect the social pressure to drink.

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