For some people, one of the most challenging parts about being newly sober is addressing the pending and dreaded question, “Why don’t you drink?” It can be awkward and uncomfortable in any situation but can seem especially overwhelming during the holidays when almost everyone will be toasting with a glass or two of bubbly.
When you enter recovery and build a new life for yourself, you’re typically surrounded by others in similar walks of life that support you. However, the holidays may bring together people you haven’t seen in a while who will genuinely be curious.
You may even have an ignorant friend or family member that will try to get you to give in to temptations if they don’t know any better. People will probably notice you dodging drinks, so you will have to find ways to respond to the question of why you choose not to drink.
#1. Be Honest
Being honest about your addiction and sobriety is completely up to you and may depend on the person asking. Although you don’t need to spill any details to nosy strangers, you may want to give some explanation to family and friends who do care to know.
If it’s a pesky family member who will respond with twenty questions about your recovery, you may want to skip this option. However, simply stating “I don’t like who I am when I drink” is quick and to the point. It’s most likely the truth and bound to prevent extra questioning. People may even applaud your choice to no longer drink.
You can also choose to be more blunt and leave no room for questions by sharing that you’re in recovery. Typically an honest response catches people off guard, and they choose to accept it and move on. Again, this isn’t for everyone, so it’s up to you whether or not you decide to be completely honest.
#2. Making Healthier Choices
Don’t be afraid to tell people you’re trying to treat your body better, and by doing so, you’ve decided to cut out all alcohol. Hangovers can be debilitating for anyone and can cause an endless cycle of constantly drinking to recover from drinking. Without alcohol in your system, you are a happier, healthier version of yourself, and almost everyone can relate to that.
#3. You’re Driving
Telling people that you are driving is always a safe answer because most of the time, no one will question this response. Your loved ones care about you getting home safely, so they are less likely to push for more answers when you tell them you are driving. It’s also a great excuse if you’re around people you don’t know very well. Many people may even be happy to hear this because that means they have a safe ride home if needed.
#4. You’re Allergic
While telling people you are allergic to alcohol may come across as lying, many people in recovery are familiar with Dr. William Dunkin Silkworth’s opinion that consuming alcohol causes an allergic reaction that triggers the phenomenon of craving. This response may be helpful because no one chooses to have an allergy and face the consequences, so people will most likely leave you alone after giving this response.
#5. You Don’t Like Drinking
Telling people you don’t like drinking is a polite and easy way of declining a drink. It’s simple and straight to the point. Some people genuinely do not like to consume alcohol, which doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy spending time with friends and family at parties. If someone continues to persist in offering you a drink, don’t be afraid to keep repeating this response.
Finding What Works for You
Find a few responses that work for you and keep them in your pocket for when you are asked why you don’t drink during holiday parties. If you sound confident in your response, most people will drop it and leave you alone. Remember that you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone, especially if they try to coerce or tempt you into “just one drink.”
If you are faced with this question often and pressured by the same people, whether it’s family or friends, you have the power to choose not to associate with them anymore. Aside from protecting your sobriety, you also have to look out for your mental health.
Ramped-up family time can be emotional and draining for many, or loneliness could set in if you don’t have close family ties. It’s important to remember that you don’t need alcohol for a good time or to keep you company. Always put your sobriety and mental health first.
The holidays can be stressful for everyone, especially if you’re newly sober and trying to protect your recovery. If your concerns with how you will safeguard your sobriety during the busy season of celebrations are causing you to feel anxious, depressed, or garnering feelings of trauma, you don’t have to navigate this alone. Remember that you don’t need alcohol in order to have a good time or enjoy your family and friends. If you’re struggling with your recovery, you can seek out others who are in recovery or join groups dedicated to maintaining your sobriety. If you’re traveling for the holidays, Achieve Concierge is here to help you get the treatment you need while on the road through our telehealth services. We specialize in mental health disorders, substance abuse, and long-term therapy. We can design a treatment plan to fit your unique needs. To schedule a consultation or learn more, call Achieve Concierge today at (619) 393-5871.