Tips for Telling Your Friends You Don’t Drink Anymore
By Michaela Weaver
Navigating your social life when you initially decide to stop drinking can be problematic, especially if alcohol has traditionally played a significant role in your life.
But following a mindset change around alcohol it is important to get out and back to going out if you want to do so.
This will build new neural pathways around going out without alcohol. There are plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives to drink, and after a while, with the right mindset, change will settle into the new you!
Many folks also don’t know how to tell their pals that they no longer drink.
It’s a nerve-cracking move, and you may be concerned about whether or not your friends would understand, as well as how they will react.
We’ll give you some pointers on how to start the conversation, how to handle the negative response, and why you should let them know about your new journey towards sober life in this blog.
How to Tell Your Friends You’re Not Drinking Anymore
Keep in mind that the decision to stop drinking is solely yours. You owe no one an explanation, and you don’t have to justify your decision to anyone, not even your closest friends.
Even so, your pals are likely to inquire as to why you are declining drinks or invitations to go out.
These tips will help you deal with the situation and anticipate the various replies you may receive.
Simple Is Best
It entirely depends on you how much information you are comfortable disclosing. You might feel comfortable being an open book and having an open, honest chat about your sobriety with some friends.
Things are good to keep it simple with others: “I’ve chosen to cut back on alcohol,” or “I’m not going to drink anymore.”
People may ask you for more details, but you’re under no need to supply them. You may say something like this:
“It’s simply something I’ve made a decision to do.”
“It’s simply a personal decision that I’ve taken.”
“I’m in a better mood now that I’m not drinking.”
“I can’t drink since it doesn’t work for me.”
“For me, drinking is a slippery slope.”
You can say some of these remarks in a lighter or joking tone if it makes you feel more at ease. You can also tell folks that it’s your decision and that you don’t feel obligated to explain yourself.
The essential idea is that you have complete control over how much information you share and with whom you share it.
Make An Effort To Get Assistance
With the help of helpful friends and family members, recovery is a lot simpler. Solicit the use of your closest and most reliable friends. Tell them what they can do to help you.
For example, maybe you’d like to stay away from bars for a bit. Ask if you can do any other activities together, such as enrolling in a masterclass, going to the movies, going to an arcade, or playing sports.
Alternatively, you might just request that they respect your decision and refrain from pressuring you or offering you beverages.
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Handling Negative Responses
If your friends react negatively, keep in mind that their feelings are unrelated to you. A good buddy should be supportive of your decision and understand it.
On the other hand, some people may respond by taunting you, putting pressure on you, or claiming that you don’t have a problem and don’t need to alter anything.
However, if your friends are unpleasant or dismissive of your decision, you may want to reconsider your friendships.
Maybe they’re worried that if you don’t drink, you won’t have as much fun together, or they don’t want anything to alter your current friendship and shared social life.
Your decision can make them think about their own drinking habits, generating some friction.
When people react negatively to someone not drinking it is often because a light is being shone on their own problems with alcohol and they are feeling uncomfortable.
When you are relaxed in your decision and not judging others, then you will find that they relax as well. This so all new for you, so give yourself time.
If they react negatively ask yourself, are they genuine friendships, or are they based on consuming alcoholic beverages?
Are these the kinds of friends you want if they can’t support you and accept your personal choices?
If you’re frustrated because “all my friends drink, but I don’t,” it’s possible you need to broaden your social network.
Consider making new associations based on drinking or becoming closer to acquaintances and friends who have other, healthy interests.
Have A Conversation With Your Friends And Family About Your Drinking
Alcohol use disorder, also known as alcoholism, is an illness that makes you believe you don’t have one.
One of the many unspoken rules is keeping it hidden from yourself, particularly from your family and friends.
However, it is critical to admit it and begin modifying your behaviors; you may start by discussing it with your friends and family.
There are two compelling reasons to broaden the circle when you’re ready.
- You’re Distressed Because Of Secrets And Humiliation
“Addiction thrives in solitude,” says Marvin Ventrell, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers CEO. “Recovery happens in the community.”
“Feeling ashamed and keeping it hidden is all part of any substance use illness, and we have to push through it to be better,” she added.
She also stressed that if we have a medical issue, it’s critical to discuss it with our friends and family as if it were any other illness.
- Remember That You Needed And Deserve Assistance
Whatever form your recovery takes, you will require assistance.
This includes the support of loved ones who can check in on you and show up for you, as well as the counsel of specialists who understand the disease.
“Your sobriety says a lot about you,” says Tawny Lara, a sober sex and relationship writer who’s been clean for over 5 years. “
It says you’re putting your emotional and physical well-being first. I wanted people in my life to agree with me. I have sober friends and family, and I wanted them to understand what was going on in my life.”
Now, How Do You Decline When Someone Offers You A Drink?
Finally, having ready-made responses for when friends or casual acquaintances offer you a drink is beneficial. Here are some ideas for how to inform your buddies you aren’t drinking:
- For the time being, I’m avoiding booze.
- No, thank you; I’m going to take it easy tonight.
- I won’t be drinking tonight because I’ll be driving.
- I’m going to stick with Coke tonight, thank you very much.
- Thank you, but no!
There’s no need to overthink the situation because most individuals will take “no” for an answer. Having a sip of water, soda, or even a mocktail in your hand can also assist.
You might feel more at ease, and fewer people will offer you beverages or inquire about you.
Prepare an exit strategy in case you become uncomfortable or overwhelmed. Other people’s reactions are irrelevant, and you owe no one an explanation.
You can simply go without an explanation, or you can claim that you have to wake up early, have some other plans such as meeting another friend, or are ill.
Whatever reason you come up with, keep in mind that you are making a wise and healthy choice for yourself and your future.
Being Vulnerable Is Difficult
Alcoholism isn’t a problem of failure. It has ultimately nothing to do with your principles or personality. However, the stigma associated with addiction suggests otherwise.
“Stigma is typically what keeps people locked,” says Todd Garlington, a long-term recovering therapist at the Greenhouse Treatment Center. “I’m afraid that if I tell someone, they won’t accept me. They’ll conclude that I’m a nasty person.”
“While this is true for some people, it is not valid for everyone. The stigma is supported by Hollywood and the media.
Still, real life is different, and it can be difficult for some people to open out about wanting to change or decline a drink, especially if they have a history of drinking.
“In movies, characters reach rock bottom and live under a bridge. Then they sober up,” Lara explains.
If you’re seeking help cutting back on or quitting drinking, online coaching programs like The Alcohol Coach can help.
Expert counsel, weekly coaching meetings, and more are available to you. You may also sign up for masterclasses and have access to free resources that will aid you in your quest towards alcohol-free life!
Please note: Although we refer to ‘alcoholism’ and ‘recovery’ in our articles, this is because these terms are often used by others.
The Alcohol Coach services come from a viewpoint of empowerment, mindset shift and high powered transformational change. Then this happens there are no lifelong labels, no counting days, and pure unbounded freedom and discovery!
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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