What To Say When People Ask, “Want a Drink?”

As addicts and alcoholics, we tend to be innately dramatic people. Over-exaggerating is a character defect we all tend to hold somewhat dear, throwing our hands up in heated exasperation if someone forgets to take out the garbage or rolling on the floor in utter despair if our favorite sitcom gets cancelled. The stress we undergo when someone asks us if we would “like a drink” at a social function is essentially the same overreaction. While we internally panic and desperately try to come up with (what we believe to be) a valid excuse, the other party would undeniably be satisfied with a simple, to the point “no thank you”. But because we naturally intensify every situation, it never seems to be quite that simple. Listed below are several totally kosher responses to everyday situations that may catch you slightly off-guard.

Don’t Freak Out – It’s Only a Big Deal In Your Head

  1. “I’m allergic to alcohol.”

This may seem like a totally obvious cop out, but here’s the thing – some people actually are allergic to alcohol. This really isn’t that much of a stretch, and it also happens to be true. Alcoholics who consume alcohol develop chemicals within their bodies that act to instill irresistible cravings for more alcohol. This phenomenon has long since been known as an allergy.

  1. “I’m on antibiotics.”

Only the most intrusive individual will further pry with, “Oh really? For what?” Often the conversation ends here. If someone offers you a drink, simply let them know you appreciate the offer but you are on medication that interacts negatively with alcohol. This excuse is, of course, not ideal if you are working a thoroughly honest program – though when white lies protect your sobriety, it is up to you to decide whether or not they are worth telling.

  1. “I don’t drink.”

This is my personal favorite; short, sweet, and honest. You might be shocked by the reaction you get – none. No one really cares. And if someone seems to show an unsettling level of interest, it may be because they are interested in sobriety themselves. Remember that by publically remaining abstinent you may be inadvertently helping someone who is afraid of getting sober for social reasons.

  1. “I’m driving.”

Unfortunately, this may be met by the drunken demands of, “Just one!” If that’s the case, remind your friends that peer pressure is uncool.

  1. “I really appreciate the invitation, unfortunately I won’t be able to make it.”

If you don’t feel up to refusing drinks or being around people who aren’t, remember that you can always politely decline an invitation. Sometimes it is safer to avoid situations altogether, especially if you are feeling at all on the fence.

“I Don’t Drink” Is Totally Sufficient

Remember – there is absolutely no doubt that it is a bigger deal in your head than it is in anyone else’s. Simply let friends or coworkers know that you won’t be drinking on Friday night because, well… you don’t drink. Alcoholism is becoming far less stigmatized as more and more Americans become educated on the subject, and the only one you are hurting by not being open and honest about the subject is yourself.

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