Getting back into social gatherings after you quit drinking can be stressful. Sober socializing is a lot of fun, but when your peers still drink alcohol, it can open you up to some uncomfortable conversations. How can you explain why you’re staying sober at events?
We’re here to talk about turning down alcohol without having to stop the party. Read on to learn about some of our favorite responses.
Quietly Tell the Host
If a trusted friend or family member invites you to a party, it’s appropriate to explain your situation to them beforehand (if you choose to do so). Keep in mind that many people understand the need for sobriety for people in alcohol addiction recovery, and it’s unlikely that your loved one will argue with you.
Tell them that you have no problem with other people drinking, but that you’d like to bring your own alternatives to alcohol (if they won’t have them available).
This is a good option if you’re comfortable with the person. You don’t have to tell everyone at the party and you’ll have someone there to “buffer” the situation. If another person bothers you about drinking alcohol, they’ll be able to change the subject so you don’t have to feel uncomfortable or called out.
“No” is a Complete Sentence
Ideally, a quick “No” or “No, thank you” will be more than enough for most mature adults. It’s becoming more common for people to abstain from alcohol, so you won’t be the only person at an event who’s choosing not to drink.
Most adults understand that you shouldn’t have to explain yourself. There are plenty of reasons that someone may choose to abstain from alcohol, including:
- Medical problems
- Religious beliefs
- Personal preference
If people are unwilling to respect your answer, try venturing into a different area of the social gathering or talking to a different friend in the group until the subject is dropped.
Say You’re Driving
This is a great option for people who are living sober lifestyles. When someone asks why you’re not drinking, explain that you drove to the event or that you’re the designated driver for others.
Being the designated driver for your friends isn’t necessary, but it’s a good way to get them to avoid asking you about alcohol while you keep them safe.
All mature adults understand that drinking and driving aren’t safe. No one will question your choices.
Explain That You have Responsibilities
Drinking alcohol isn’t ideal for anyone who has something else to take care of after the event is over. If someone asks you why you’re not drinking, explain that you have things to do after the gathering.
This is easiest if it’s a daytime gathering. If your friends are day-drinking or having a drink with lunch, they should have no problem understanding that you may have to go to work, do chores, or take care of family responsibilities when you’re done socializing with them.
It’s more difficult at a late-night gathering, but you may still have to attend to your children or pets (if applicable) or finish a project for work or school when you get home.
It’s okay to lie about your responsibilities.
Claim to Have an Early Morning
No one likes waking up with a hangover or feeling drowsy from drinking too much alcohol. If you explain that you need to be up with the sun the next morning, your peers will understand that drinking isn’t the best idea.
In fact, you may want to consider actually waking up early if your work schedule allows for it. Waking up early is good for your mental health, meaning that it’s great for your recovery.
Change the Subject
During a party or gathering, especially with people who are drinking alcohol, changing the subject is a great way to avoid answering uncomfortable questions.
People who are still sober (or almost sober) will usually take the hint and not press the issue further. People who have been drinking will lose track of the conversation and move easily into the new subject.
Have a list of subjects to talk about in the back of your mind before you go to the social function so it’s easy for you to make that transition seamlessly.
Hold a Non-Alcoholic Drink
There’s no reason that anyone needs to know that you’re not drinking.
If you’re at a bar or party, ask the host or bartender to put your drink in a glass that would normally hold an alcoholic drink. Most people won’t ask what you’re drinking.
When someone asks if you want a drink, you’ll be able to hold up your glass and show them that you already have one! They don’t have to know that your drink doesn’t contain alcohol.
Say That You’re on a Diet
Even if people don’t understand the idea of not drinking alcohol, everyone understands dieting. Alcohol is full of empty calories, so people on diets tend to abstain. Telling your friends that you’re trying to lose weight or tone up is a great way to get them to drop the subject.
They may recommend low-calorie drink options, but stay firm. Even a plain shot of vodka contains more than 80 calories.
If you’re comfortable enough with your social group to do so, it’s appropriate to explain your situation. If this is a friend group that you spend time with often, this is a great way to avoid having this conversation or making excuses in the future.
You don’t have to disclose that you’re in recovery if you don’t want to, but it’s a valid option if people aren’t leaving you alone. If they care about you, they may be willing to choose sober alternatives in the future to show their support.
Sober Socializing Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Navigating social situations that include alcohol when you’re in recovery is stressful at first, but if you come prepared with answers, you won’t have a problem. Sober socializing can be fun and fulfilling. You don’t need alcohol to have a good time.
Are you ready to start your journey towards sobriety? At Inland Detox, we want to help you heal. Contact us to learn more today.