How Do You Tell People You Are Not Drinking?

Alcohol-Free sign How Do You Tell People You Are Not Drinking? Dry July 2020 - Day 16 Alcohol-Free Inspiration

One of the great things about doing an official alcohol-free marathon like Australia’s Dry July or Ocsober, is that you have an excuse not to drink. It is strange that we NEED an excuse not to drink alcohol but as anyone who has gone alcohol-free will tell you, people tend to question WHY you are not drinking. It is assumed that when people are sober they are sober because they have a problem with alcohol and having a problem with alcohol is not something that Most people want to be associated with.

For those of us commited to alcohol-free for life, those of us who have decided that we NEED to stay sober or WANT to stay sober, this is how we answer the question :

When people ask you why you are no longer drinking, what do you tell them? I’ve been thinking about how to tell my friends when the time comes. I know they won’t make a big deal of it, but I also don’t want them to see me differently or look at me with pity etc.

I also don’t want to lie and make an excuse. So I’m wondering what might be a good way to tell people in an empowered way that I’m now a non-drinker and yes, it’s forever.

When someone asks me why I’m not drinking, I say I am pretty much a non drinker.. it just wasn’t fun anymore and I am all about the fun. Because that is TRUE and mentioning that alcohol-free can be FUN always disarms people.

Alcohol- free zone sign How Do You Tell People You Are Not Drinking? Dry July 2020 - Day 16 Alcohol-Free Inspiration

Dancing around the subject of why I’m alcohol-free, I found tiresome. I decided on honesty.
If asked I reply:

I feel so much better mentally and physically without alcohol.

If pressed I reply:

I never had complete control over my drinking and am stronger without.

Most people get stuck on the idea that you must be an alcoholic if you pass up the booze. Please never feel you have to label yourself with some pathological shame-based (and very outdated) term like alcoholic.

It’s tough for those of us who have had trouble with alcohol to be very light and easy with that question because most of us still carry around a sense of shame for not being able to “handle” it like the rest of the world. That is just so much bullshit.

Look around pretty much everywhere you go and you will see LOTS of people who are not handling alcohol, it’s manhandling them.

People who have walked away from alcohol for spiritual or overall health reasons or just plain old common sense don’t seem to have trouble answering any questions. Most of them just say “No thanks” or “None for me” and if they are pressed further they say, “I feel better and my energy is higher and my life is just so much better without it.”

My oldest daughter decided to ditch the alcohol habit for optimum health reasons and to set a great example for her two small boys. She announced that she was going alcohol-free on Facebook and asked all of her friends for their favorite mocktail or alcohol-free drink recipes. THAT’S how it looks and feels when we drop the shame, but it can take some time before folks like us get to that COMPLETELY free place where we are unapologetic and almost amused. – related reading Coming Out Sober

Ditch the Drink - Alcohol-Free

If you are in early days sober tell them you’re on antibiotics. Then later, tell them you’re taking a break for a while. After you have some good sober momentum under your belt and won’t be triggered by other peoples opinions, say I don’t drink.  You don’t have to say ‘any more.’   And if they ask, tell them how much money you’ve saved and how much more fun you’re having.  That’ll give them something to think about!

A HUGE issue in all society is projection –  so many people want to project things they can’t handle about themselves onto others. It’s not personal – It’s your life, live it. Take power from that!  

It depends who is asking but in general I say “Ive stopped drinking – got sick of being hungover and don’t have much of an off switch – I’m more of an all or nothing person.”

However it is tempting to say ‘because Im a massive alcoholic!’ – that’ll shut them up!

If anyone asks me why I’m not drinking I just say I don’t like the hangovers/ hangovers and kids don’t mix/ am just getting a bit more healthy etc. I feel zero shame absolutely zero. related reading The Disney-fication of Drunk

I don’t/ won’t make any big announcements that’s for sure! Peeps who know me and my (ex)love for drink will laugh out loud if I say’ I won’t (ever) drink again! And they will do their damn best to change my mind! “Convince” me why alcohol is good for me etc…. which will all play nicely into the hand of my wine witch who will agree of course!

I play it by ear, situation by situation I will come up with an answer how to decline the first one …or two…. after that nobody gives a shit because they are getting drunk 🤣

I will not go to a pub for the foreseeable future- a recipe for disaster imho- at bbqs this summer I will bring AF beer, if someone is really persistent I will give them a long pause to underline their rudeness and then I will say I have gone off the taste of alcohol! It tastes yucky!

“Alcohol doesn’t agree with me anymore. Seems that getting older has made me wiser about my health.  So I just choose not to drink.  As for you, now I’m totally curious, why do you drink?”  

Wine glass with flower Alcohol- free zone sign How Do You Tell People You Are Not Drinking? Dry July 2020 - Day 16 Alcohol-Free Inspiration

Top Ten Excuses not to Drink

10. I find that drinking throws off my timing in the high hurdles enough so that I won’t make the Olympic team.

9. I’m pregnant. (Note: This is particularly successful if (1) you are a man, (2) you are a nun, or (3) you are clearly outside childbearing age.)

8. I’m doing a test to see if I like you when I’m sober. (This is for the ones that just won’t drop it.)

7. It’s my chauffeur’s night off.

6. I’ve converted to Islam… infidel!

5. Drinking interferes with my ebola medication.

4. The last time I drank I prank texted a friend that I was going to blow up the White House, and Homeland Security was on my doorstep three minutes later.

3. My fraternity/sorority will kick me out if I drink.

2. My new liver hasn’t arrived yet.

1. The voices in my head are telling me not to drink.

If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us. 

We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using

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Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying

“I think I have a problem with drinking”

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