Say No to Alcohol in Social Situations...Supporting Women and Sobriety
In social situations it is oftentimes difficult for the newly sober to say no to alcohol. First of all, many people don't know yet that you've made the decision not to drink anymore. Secondly, people may be used to you drinking (quite a bit, if you're anything like me...a legend in my own mind). Finally, it is a delicate dance to refrain from drinking without making other people feel bad about their drinking, or worse, afraid that they are going to get an earful from the newly converted. Hopefully, these pointers can help you navigate all sorts of social situations with ease.
Tell the truth right away and get it out of the way. I've read advice to use excuses like “I'm on a diet” or “I'm driving.”While these may be true, what will happen the next time you see this person? It's best to be as up front as possible.“I don't drink alcohol anymore,” is simple and to the point.
After that statement, there are a few people that will not ask questions and never offer you alcohol again. There are an awesome few that will go and find you a non-alcoholic alternative.
Then there are those that ask why. This is fine with me, but it is here things get tricky. In a social situation where almost everyone else is drinking, it is important to not let your new found excitement about sobriety throw a wet blanket on everyone's party. It is here where I want to say something that is only about myself, and then leave the conversation open for those that may be interested in asking more about it later. Here are some of the responses that I have used:
“I drank way too much for way too long.”
“I have an issue with alcohol, and I'm glad to be off the hook.”
“It's genetic, my family lacks an OFF button!”
There are those that will pursue it, and depending on the situation you may or may not feel comfortable talking about it further. I generally reassure them that I am happy with my decision and still love to hang out and do the same things.
I like to reserve going more in depth for private conversations, but the truth is, I was surprised at how many people did not ask me more about it. It was a HUGE change in my life, but to most people it meant very little
There are those that will continue to offer you drinks every time they see you. It's like they think you are going through a phase and will come to your senses eventually. I just repeat myself with these people, the same as if they had just asked me for the first time.
Finally, I get a replacement in hand as soon as possible, and keep one close for the entire event. Whether it's club soda, iced tea, or non-alcoholic beer or wine, I have one near and it seems like everyone forgets that I am not drinking alcohol along with them. I actually get silly and enjoy myself right along with them, almost like a contact high. The best thing, though, is no regrets and no hangover the next day!
I have to admit that my secret pleasure is staying sober. I notice that there are other non-drinkers and also those normal social drinkers that can drink only one or two and call it a night. Of course, some people always get way too hammered, and I feel glad that I am not one of them any longer. I am there for the party, but unlike in the past, I will remember all of it. I value my sober conversations and interactions with people. Sobriety is one decision that I never regret.
Link to my personal sobriety story
A hub I wrote on the Women for Sobriety Program
- The Thirteen Acceptance Statements of the New Life Acceptance Program
The “New Life” Acceptance Program was written by Dr. Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. It is the foundation for Women for Sobriety, a program dedicated to helping women overcome their struggles with alcohol, or other substances.