How to Tell People Why You’re Not Drinking
When you quit drinking, it can be hard to resist the temptation in social circles or at family gatherings. You may worry about what others will think or ask when you say that you’re not drinking.
While people may not be directly pressuring you to drink by verbally pushing you, their questions and drink offers are indirect social pressure (1). It can be just as challenging. If you’re worried about caving in and drinking, there are ways to avoid personal conversations and stay in control. These are a few responses that you can use if you don’t feel like explaining your sobriety to everyone. These responses can discourage their questions that pry into your privacy.
“I don’t feel like drinking tonight.”
If you’re worried about direct social pressure from those around you, this is a good response. You can provide explanations, such as you have work to do later, you want to work out when you get home or something else.
“I need to stay awake.”
You can say that alcohol has been making you feel sleepy. Add that you need to stay awake for something that you need to do after the gathering.
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“I’m not drinking tonight.”
If direct social pressure is not a likelihood, you can simply say that you don’t feel like drinking tonight. Your friends will probably understand and leave it at that. If someone asks you repeatedly or directly pressures you, keep providing the same simple response. If you keep repeating the same thing, the person will probably stop asking it to avoid looking foolish.
“I’m cutting back.”
If you feel that this statement will be too vague for the person offering you a drink, you can add a reason. These are some explanations that you can use:
- “I’m taking medication and want to avoid any interactions.”
- “I would like to count calories and try to lose weight.”
- “I decided to give up alcohol to bring awareness to a cause.”
- “My doctor told me to cut back for health reasons.”
Build Your Social Strategy
Maintaining your sobriety is your top priority, and you need to start by setting clear boundaries for yourself and others. These are some helpful suggestions:
- Give yourself permission to walk away from toxic or risky situations and to avoid people who put you in them. (2)
- If you’re caught by surprise, use a delay tactic.
- Identify your external triggers, and plan to avoid them. (3)
Remember that there is no shame in avoiding people who may drag you down. Also, please remember that your wellbeing is most important, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation or details that you don’t want to share. If your friends and family care about you, they will respect your decisions and wishes. A delay tactic can be a simple response, such as telling the person you’ll get back to them in a little while or you’ll think about it.
External triggers are people, places and things. For example, if you normally used to drink after work, the time when you get off work may be especially difficult. When you are newly sober, you may want to avoid social gatherings with alcohol at that time of day. Internal triggers are feelings, and those can be harder to avoid. You can learn strategies to deal with internal triggers at all times in a treatment center.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment Helps
When you work with Ocean Hills Recovery, we provide you with powerful strategies and teach you the right methods to overcome addiction. Our goal is to help you break the addiction cycle permanently. We help you through detoxification and support you in every difficulty. In addition to that, these are some of the treatment components:
- Twelve-step method
- Personalized treatment plans
- Collaborative therapy
When you’re trying to get sober, you need advocates who understand your struggles and can help you through them. If you’re ready to change, Ocean Hills Recovery is ready to help you reclaim control of your future and happiness. Please contact us to learn more.
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATC). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.