How to Tell Friends & Family You Don’t Drink

in Alcohol
Published Dec 8, 2020
How to Tell Friends & Family You Don't Drink

Recovery can be a challenging process to navigate through, especially in a society that drinks all the time. People drink to celebrate, commiserate, socialize, and recreate. One of the challenges of sobriety is how to tell friends and family that you no longer drink. 

Many people in recovery often ask themselves what they should say, how they should decline a drink, what reason they should give, and how to respond to questions. These are all valid concerns. And the reality is that it is entirely up to you how you respond. 

One of the greatest lessons of recovery is the realization that we don’t need others approval of our decisions in life. There is no external authority. Yet many people continue to seek approval long into recovery: from sponsors, therapists, partners, parents, and anyone else we confide in. However, recovery is a process of developing autonomy and agency over our lives.Telling those you don’t drink is the perfect opportunity to practice owning your decisions and not being swayed by what others think you should do. 

From this empowered place you can cite any number of the following reasons why you don’t drink.

How to tell people you don’t drink

  1. Don’t. You don’t actually need to explain your decisions to anyone. It’s none of their business. You don’t need to reason, explain, justify, or rationalize your choices. They are yours and in your best interests. Know it is a valid response to decline an invitation to drink and leave it at that. 
  2. Tell the truth. It is permissible to explain that you had a problem with drinking and now you abstain from alcohol. It is up to you how much information you wish to give away at this stage. You don’t have to tell the gory details, you can simply explain you decided to stop drinking because you didn’t like how much you were consuming. This option could result in people feeling uncomfortable and you could regret revealing that information at a later date. However, there is nothing to be ashamed of for disclosing a medical condition that you have overcome.
  3. Health reasons. You could explain that you have a health condition that prevents you from drinking. Alcohol use disorder is a medical illness after all. 
  4. Designated Driver. Tell friends and family that you are the designated driver and therefore will not be drinking. This is probably the easiest response. 
  5. Medication. You could tell loved ones that you are on medication, like antibiotics, that prevent you from drinking. 
  6. It doesn’t work for you. Explaining that alcohol doesn’t work for you, or that you don’t like how it makes you feel is another valid reason to give for not drinking. It doesn’t need further explanation. 

The reality is that it’s actually quite simple to tell people you don’t drink. You just need to get over the initial hurdle and practice telling others. You can also tell different people different reasons depending on how comfortable you are with them. You may also change that perspective over time as you become more confident in your decision not to drink and your comfortability in recovery. 

If you, or a loved one, are struggling to find recovery, give us a call and see how we can help. 

At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we bring compassion to the commotion. Peace to the pain. Empowerment to the powerless. If you or someone you know needs support with addiction problems, bring us your battle. Call us today and take the best, first step towards recovery: 720-704-1432