How to Tell People You’re Not DrinkingBy Michaela

If you are working your way through an alcohol dependence issue, you’ve probably been put in the awkward situation of answering the question: “what can I get you to drink” at a bar one too many times. It’s nobody’s fault, but you still need to find a system for how to politely answer this question while preserving some semblance of privacy.

Obviously, your answer to this question is going to depend on whether you want to disclose what you are working through or if you simply want to shrug it off and remain private.

Your answer will also depend on who is asking you or pressuring you to drink. It’s easier to be honest with a close friend than an acquaintance you have just met.

Regardless of your situation, here are some possibilities that you can use to tell people that you’d rather not have an alcoholic drink!

What to Say When Asked to Drink

“Thanks, but I don’t drink.”

When someone asks you to drink and you don’t want to, a simple “thanks, but I don’t drink” is an effective response. This response is straightforward and polite, without revealing too much about your personal situation. It also allows you to remain private and in control of your own decisions. 

It’s important to remember that alcohol dependence can be a sensitive issue for those who are struggling with it and by responding this way, you can take care of yourself and respect other people’s boundaries. People may pressure you, but ultimately the decision is yours to make. You may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed in these situations, but it’s important to stand firm on what works best for you instead of giving in to external influences. 

Additionally, responding this way doesn’t imply any judgement or stigma towards anyone else who chooses to drink. People should be able to make their own decisions when it comes to alcohol consumption without having their choices questioned or challenged by others. 

“I can’t. I’m actually trying to get control over when & what I drink.”

It is always a good idea to be honest and upfront about your efforts to get control over when and what you drink. This response is polite, yet straightforward, and it lets the person who asked know that you are not comfortable with drinking alcohol. As someone who is working their way through an alcohol dependence issue, this response allows you to maintain some semblance of privacy, while still communicating your wishes in a respectful manner. 

The use of the word “control” also sends an important message: You are taking responsibility for your actions and decisions, and that you understand that it is ultimately up to you to make healthy choices. It emphasizes that though you may not be able to drink right now, your goal isn’t simply abstinence but balance and self-care. 

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that no matter what anyone else says or how they pressure you, only you can decide if drinking alcohol will help or hinder your overall health. If saying “I can’t. I’m actually trying to get control over when & what I drink” feels like the best course of action for you at the time, don’t hesitate to say it out loud – it’s perfectly valid.

“Sorry, I have to get up early in the morning!”

By saying “Sorry, I have to get up early in the morning!”, you can politely turn down an offer to drink without disclosing any personal information. It’s a reasonable excuse that many people can relate to and understand. You don’t have to worry about getting into a lengthy explanation or making someone feel uncomfortable by revealing your struggle with alcohol dependence. 

Plus, even if it isn’t true, it might be enough of a distraction that the person won’t press further. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about lying or deceiving as this excuse is not really false – we all need our time for rest and recovery from life’s responsibilities and obligations. 

There are also subtle hints of self-care that come along with this response. By prioritizing an early morning start, you are showing yourself some respect by taking the necessary steps towards living a healthy lifestyle. Even if it is just one night, it still matters! 

“No thanks, I’m driving!”

Saying “No thanks, I’m driving!” is a great response if you don’t want to drink but are in the awkward situation of being asked to do so. This response allows you to protect your privacy while politely declining the offer. By saying this, you make it clear that you are not interested in drinking and that it is not an option. 

Furthermore, driving is a more socially accepted reason for refusing alcohol than directly relating it to any sort of dependence issue. It implies self-control and responsibility and shows consideration for your own safety as well as those around you.

In addition, this response can be used in nearly any situation – whether you’re out with close friends or acquaintances – without needing to disclose anything about what you are working through or why it’s important for you not to drink. It also serves as an easy-to-remember phrase that keeps your options open if you decide that you would like a non-alcoholic beverage at a later point in the evening. 

Tips for Avoiding Awkward Social Situations

If you don’t want to have to decline somebody that wants you to go out for a drink or have a drink while you are with them, then the best way is to avoid those situations altogether.

If you have a dependence on alcohol and are still figuring out a system for declining those that offer you beverages, then here are some quick tips to help keep you out of those situations in the first place.

Decline Invitations for Events With Drinking

Obviously, the best way to avoid these situations is to decline invitations to events where you suspect there will be heavy alcohol use. If you think it would be difficult for you to go somewhere and not drink, then simply avoid those places.

Go Out During Daytime Hours

If you are looking to hang out with friends, try suggesting activities that take place during the daytime hours. This way, there won’t be any pressure to drink and you can still have fun without the worry of being peer pressured.

Make it Clear That You Don’t Drink

If you do decide to go out with friends, make it clear from the start that you don’t drink alcohol. This will help your friends understand why you might not be participating in certain activities or consuming a beverage and hopefully prevent any awkward conversations about why you’re not drinking.

Be Assertive

It’s important to be assertive when it comes to saying no to alcohol. If someone is pressuring you or trying to get you to drink, don’t be afraid to stand your ground and voice your decision. It can also help to have a few go-to responses ready so that you don’t have to scramble for words in the moment.

Remember, You’re Not Alone

If you are struggling with an alcohol dependence issue, it’s important to remember that you are not alone in your journey. There are many resources available to help you on your path to sobriety, including support groups and counseling services. The Alcohol Coach has formed a guide that is meant to be a companion. If you need help, consult The Alcohol Coach.

The Alcohol Coach Helps Build Confidence & Accountability

One of the most common issues that people run into when overcoming alcohol dependence is that they feel social pressure to drink, especially when they are in the company of friends and family.

Part of the reason that people have alcohol dependence is often because they lack confidence and willpower at that moment in their lives. The Alcohol Coach aims to change this.

The revolutionary power of The Alcohol Coach is that the program utilizes resources that are already available within you, but just not yet discovered. The Alcohol Coach will help you to recover your self-confidence, power, and strength that you need to gain your independence from alcohol.


Hi, I'm Michela

I’m a leader in the science of transformational freedom for women, and someone previously addicted to alcohol. I have walked the path. I understand your concerns and fears. Here you will find some of my thoughts and insights. Happy browsing!

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