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July 31, 2022

10 Ways to Say No to Alcohol in Any Scenario

After successfully establishing a meaningful amount of sobriety while in rehab, you have every right to be proud of what you have accomplished. At the same time, you will now face the task of maintaining your sobriety when hit with temptation or your personal triggers.

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July 31, 2022

Peer pressure and social settings will likely challenge your ability to say no, but it’s important to remember what you’ve learned through your addiction treatment and the work you put in to overcome your alcohol addiction.

No matter how confident you feel about your ability to stay sober, you'll never know for sure how you will react when presented with reasons and opportunities to drink. Only time will tell how you will react. With that in mind, we, at Hollywood Hills Recovery, would like to offer you the following 10 ways to say "no" to alcohol in any given situation.

1. Have Pre-Prepared Excuses or Replies

In the early stages of sobriety, it's not a good idea to make spur-of-the-moment decisions when asked about drinking. You can avoid doing this by pre-preparing and rehearsing a series of excuses. We could suggest saying:

  • I'm taking prescription medication
  • I have to work early tomorrow
  • You and the family are leaving in the morning for a family outing
  • I'm pregnant (if female)

2. Choose Non-Alcoholic Drinks

When someone asks you if you want a drink, you don't have to assume they mean an alcoholic drink. That would give you a license to simply order a non-alcoholic beverage. If you are going to a cookout, take your own drinks with you. As long as you already have what you want, people will be less likely to offer you a drink.

3. Make a Special Request of the Bartender on the QT

Bartenders are well-versed in dealing with sober people. If you were to pull a bartender aside and explain your situation, there are ways they can help cover for you. One way would be to conjure up a non-alcoholic drink and put it in the same kind of glass they would use for any other drinks.

4. Pretend to Be Drinking

Have you ever watched a sitcom where the actors pretend to be eating but never take a bite? As a sober person, you do have that option. In the heat of a conversation with friends, it's very unlikely that anyone will give a second thought about the fact you haven't yet taken a drink. To enhance the rouse, you might empty the glass out some if the opportunity were to arise.

5. Just Tell the Truth

Sometimes, you are far better off just being honest about who you are and your prior life experiences. If your friends and or workmates really care, they won't hesitate to be supportive of your decision to not drink. If they have any further questions about your situation, it would be within your rights to decide how much you wish to share with them. The important thing is that you accept who you are and not worry about what others might think.

6. Change the Subject

There is a fine art to learning how to change the subject when the subject matter at hand is not something with which you don't want to deal. When confronted with the fact you are not drinking, you don't really owe anyone an explanation. Therefore, it makes sense that you should simply try to drive the conversation in another direction. Remember, people who are drinking have lower inhibitions. That could be the reason they will keep driving for an answer despite your best efforts to avoid the subject.

7. Just Say "No"

It's okay that your experiences with alcoholism create within you some discomfort. It's perfectly okay to not speak about it if you so choose. Since you really don't owe anyone an explanation, you have every right to just say "no." If you own it and say it emphatically, most people will understand that it's not something that you want to discuss.

8. Volunteer to Be the Designated Driver

If the call goes out for you to participate in an event or party where drinking is likely to take place, this affords you the perfect opportunity to volunteer to do the driving. By doing so, there will be an unspoken assumption that you will be acting as the designated driver. If someone tries to convince you that one drink won't make a difference, you can simply exclaim that you would prefer to not take the risk of harming those who have entrusted you to get them some safe and sound.

9. Give Subtle Indications You Won't Be Drinking

Sometimes, people are very sensitive to subtle cues regarding someone else's behaviors. If you don't plan on drinking, you don't have to order a drink. If a wine glass or drink menu is on the table, you can make your preference known by simply pushing those things as far away from you as possible.

10. I had Drinks Earlier

If your event or get-together is in the evening, you can always suggest you had several drinks earlier in the day at lunch. If they still want to push you to drink, you can simply explain that too much drinking in one day is more than your body can handle.

Here is the bottom line. It's incumbent on you to do all you can to protect your own sobriety. People who know you well will understand why you choose not to drink. Those that don't know you well are not entitled to any more of an explanation than you are willing to give.

If Hollywood Hills Recovery can be of help at any time in the future, please give us a call.

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