Saying no to alcohol and drugs is important when you’re in recovery or choosing to live a sober life. If you have another reason for why you can’t drink, such as trying to become pregnant or impregnate your partner, then it’s also necessary to turn down alcohol.
Peer pressure is stressful, but you can learn to say no and stand your ground by preparing and practicing. The more you say no to what you want to say no to, the easier it becomes. This is about more than turning down alcohol and drugs. It’s about setting and enforcing your boundaries. You can use this skill in other areas of your life when there are certain things that you aren’t okay with.
Being direct and honest is often the quickest and best route to go. However, if you are new to this, then you may need to start smaller and use a less direct excuse to get yourself to decline alcohol and drugs. Try to choose an excuse that is still honest for your situation. Getting caught in a lie is an uncomfortable situation, just as facing peer pressure is.
Table of Contents
- Saying No Means Preventing a Relapse
- Excuses to Not Drink or Do Other Drugs
- Contact Illinois Recovery Center for help creating a strong aftercare plan.
Saying No Means Preventing a Relapse
Allowing yourself just a small drink is likely to cause a relapse. The addiction’s grip on your brain isn’t easy to fully overcome even after you have finished your rehab program. Recovery is often a multi-yearlong journey. It’s highly recommended that you create an aftercare plan after finishing outpatient rehab. This may consist of regular checkups to ensure that you’re staying sober. It could also include weekly therapy sessions to keep your stress managed in a healthy way.
Excuses to Not Drink or Do Other Drugs
There are plenty of excuses that you can make not to drink. Some are more direct than others. Choose what you feel most comfortable with.
I want to remember the event
You could tell the person that you want to make sure you remember the night because you’re having fun. If they press that one drink isn’t going to make you forget, you could say that you’re not someone who handles liquor well. Or, you could reassure them that you’re having fun and enjoying whatever type of drink you choose.
I’m the Designated Driver
As long as you feel comfortable with this option, you can offer to be the designated driver for your friend or family member. You will then have no problem saying no to drinks at the gathering. If you’re alone at a networking event, you can also easily evade drinks by saying you’re driving back to the hotel or house.
I have responsibilities tomorrow
Having an early morning responsibility is another excellent reason to turn down a drink. School, work, and driving your child to school or activity are examples of responsibilities that you may have the following day. You might also have a doctor’s appointment or a meeting the next day. If you don’t have anything planned for the following day, then maybe you can schedule something like a yoga class to have a valid excuse while doing something great for your well-being.
Have a Non-Alcoholic Drink
Ask for a rum and Pepsi, hold the rum! No one can tell the drink in your hand is just Pepsi and ice.
It’s a good idea to keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand if you want an easy way to turn down offers for an alcoholic beverage. Most people aren’t going to offer you a drink when you already have one. Remember to never leave your drink unattended to stay safe. Some people slip drugs in someone’s drink when they’re not looking.
I’m training for an Athletic Competition
If you’re training for an athletic competition, it’s easy for you to say no to drinks. You don’t need to be a professional or a celebrity to participate in athletic competitions. There are smaller level community events that you can join. Going sober can lead you down a healthier lifestyle. Exercise is important for good health, so you may decide that you want to find a sport you enjoy that helps you stay fit.
We’re planning for Pregnancy
This one isn’t just for women. Alcohol affects sperm quality too. Whether you’re a male or a female, you can let people know that you’re trying to conceive. Most people don’t know yet that men should abstain from alcohol when they are trying to get their partners pregnant, so you should be prepared for initial laughter or confusion until you explain it to them. In fact, men should begin abstaining from alcohol at least six months in advance of trying to impregnate their partners. If you don’t feel comfortable with people knowing that you plan on having a baby, then you can choose another excuse on this list that works for you.
I have a Medical Condition
With certain medical conditions, you either can’t drink or it’s recommended that you don’t. Diabetes is an example of a health issue where you should either abstain from alcohol or limit yourself to one drink as a woman or two as a man. High blood pressure, heart disease, digestive problems, liver disease and cancer are other common medical conditions for which you shouldn’t drink alcohol.
I’m on Medication
Everyone knows that alcohol interacts badly with certain medications. No one can pressure you to drink if you say that you can’t because of a medication you’re on. However, you should be prepared for them to ask you questions about what medication you’re taking or what health condition you have.
I had a Health scare
Looking after your health is another reason to decline drinks. However, this excuse might not be as strong because some people may insist that just one drink isn’t harmful to your health. You should be prepared for a situation in which someone tries persuading you to have just one drink or asks more about how it’s harmful for your health. Depending on your personality, you might feel uncomfortable explaining how it’s not good for one’s health. You could say the last time you drank, you felt really sick and dizzy.
Make a Joke about it
If you are the comedian type, you may find that it’s most comfortable to decline a drink with humor. Taking a humorous approach keeps the atmosphere fun and prevents awkward situations. Making people laugh also helps break the ice and connect with them. An example of a joke that you can make when someone asks why you’re not drinking is that you’re like a camel and you have drank enough during the first part of your life, so it’s stored in your hump. You could also warn humorously that no one wants to see the mess you are when you’re drunk.
Just say NO
You can take the direct approach of simply saying that “I don’t drink“. Many people will accept the answer. For those who ask why not, you can let them know that you’re in recovery or that you had to quit for the sake of your health and well-being. You could also say that it’s against your religious or spiritual beliefs.
What excuse you make to not drink comes down to what you feel comfortable with. Everyone is different, so one approach isn’t necessarily better than the other. If you’re not someone who enjoys making jokes over the situation, then you wouldn’t want to attempt a humorous approach. Remember that anyone who tries to make you feel bad for not drinking is probably not someone healthy for you. Try to not take it personally. Fortunately, most people aren’t going to guilt or shame you. At most, they may try encouraging you if you don’t give them a serious reason like a health condition. With some polite declining, it usually isn’t going to be a problem.
Contact Illinois Recovery Center for help creating a strong aftercare plan.
Stress is one of the main reasons people relapse. You have learned healthy stress management techniques in rehab, but sometimes, you may still need to talk to a therapist if something feels too overwhelming or the cravings for drugs become strong. When you know that you have to regularly report to someone, you are more likely to stay on track.
Contact us if you’re struggling to overcome alcohol or other drugs. We can discuss your options in recovering and guide you into taking back control over your life.