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Alcohol is a big part of social interactions and often people struggle to enjoy a gathering or special occasion without it. Whether you are meeting up with your girlfriends for your monthly catch up, or celebrating your brother’s engagement to his childhood sweetheart, it’s likely that alcohol will be involved.
For someone who has a tendency towards alcohol abuse or addiction, these social situations can be problematic as they not only normalize excessive alcohol consumption but encourage it too.
Perhaps you are struggling with alcohol dependency, but your friends and family are not aware of your situation, and you are trying to reduce your consumption or quit drinking entirely. You may still be experiencing feelings of shame around your addiction, and you are not ready to tell your loved ones that you are trying to quit drinking.
How do you say no to alcohol in social situations without telling people that you are trying to quit?
When meeting with friends or family in a casual setting such as someone’s house or for a camping weekend, bring your own non-alcoholic beverages with. There are many types of non-alcoholic drinks that replicate the look and taste of alcoholic drinks.
This way, when someone offers you a drink, you can thank them and politely decline by saying you brought your own along. Additionally, if you already have a drink in your hand, your loved ones wont feel the need to offer you anything else.
Being prepared for when people ask you why you aren’t drinking, helps you answer them with confidence.
Perhaps you could tell them that you have a big day the next day and would like a clear mind and energetic body to tackle all your tasks. And, to remove the guilt about lying, why not take the opportunity to actually make some fun plans for your day? Doing this can also take your mind off of the thought of having a drink.
Take your waitron aside, or go and speak to the bartender privately, explain your situation, and ask them kindly to pour your non-alcoholic soft drinks into the same glasses they would pour alcoholic drinks into so that it looks like you are drinking alcohol.
Alternatively, order yourself an alcohol-free cocktail and ask them to present it in the same way they would for a cocktail with alcohol.
We all know the dangers involved with drinking and driving, apart from it being completely illegal. So, if you and your friends are going out for Friday night drinks, offer to be the designated driver so that you and your loved ones can all get home safely, while you avoid explaining all night why you aren’t drinking and your friends thank you for taking one for the team.
If you are planning to stay sober, you will eventually run out of excuses and people will begin to ask questions. If you are with people you trust, it may be a good opportunity to have an honest conversation with them about why you keep saying no to alcohol.
It’s best to have this conversation in a neutral environment, where there is no alcohol involved so think of inviting your closest mates or family members for a cup of coffee in the morning and spill the beans.
Not only will you feel better about being honest, but you will also gain support and understanding from your loved ones. After all, support is what gets us through difficult times.
Choosing to stop drinking is a brave, courageous choice and nobody should feel too ashamed to be honest about their dependency. In fact, asking for help can be a hugely rewarding and beneficial step in the recovery process.
You may feel better about keeping your sobriety to yourself in the beginning, and that is okay. Finding ways to get around the topic when you are around your peers is completely acceptable.
However, there is no shame in being honest and we encourage you to reach out to those closest to you, or to us for support and guidance.
Our rehabilitation centre offers in- and out-patient programmes for alcohol addiction and we are more than happy to talk about what these programmes entail.
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