No. Period. End of sentence.
The funny thing is, NO is a complete sentence.
No, thank you…is just polite, but NO is still a complete sentence.
So why is it so hard sometimes for our friends and family to understand this?
No, thank you. I don’t drink.
Practice it with me.
No, thank you.
I don’t drink.
There! You did it!
If you’re new to this sobriety stuff, it can be hard to spit those words out with any kind of confidence. We squiggle around and feel embarrassed that we might offend someone by not taking up an offer for a drink. Or maybe, we’re afraid of not feeling “part of”. Or maybe, we’re still shaky about living a sober life. Or maybe, we’ve gotten so used to apologizing and not standing up for ourselves, that we shy away.
Whatever the reason, I want you to know that finding your voice is going to be one of the tools that will help you save your own life. Stand up big and tall and say it with me again:
“No, thank you. I don’t drink.”
How’d that feel?
It wasn’t that bad, right?
Try it one more time and then you’re on your own:
“No, thank you. I don’t drink.”
Sweet friend, you don’t owe ANYONE an explanation. You are sober for you alone. Others might benefit from your sobriety, but ultimately, you are sober because you are taking care of yourself. There is no reason to go into any long-winded story or apologies for not drinking.
Here’s what I’ve found (almost) 100% of the time.
The people who reeeealy question my sobriety…the ones who say things like “oh, come on. You can have ONE drink”…or the people who ask a lot of questions and really push the subject…
They are questioning their own drinking! It has nothing to do with you!
They see you not participating and it makes THEM feel uncomfortable about the amount of alcohol THEY are drinking and the importance of alcohol in THEIR OWN LIVES.
I promise. I’ve lived this situation over and over again and I can’t tell you how often the conversation ends with them asking how I got sober and if I can help them.
In fact, it’s exactly how I got sober myself.
Let me tell you a story.
One night, about seven years ago, when my life was still a total sh*t show because of alcohol, we went out to dinner with some of our best friends. When the waiter came to take our drink orders, our friends politely ordered iced tea.
Wait. What?!! “Yeah, we’re not drinking.”
They went on to make allllll kinds of excuses:
“We have to go to Church in the morning.”
“We’re on antibiotics.”
“We’re trying to set a better example for our kids.”
The list went on and on. But, sh*t!! How am I supposed to drink if you’re not? I had sooooo many questions. I mean, these were some of our best and dearest friends. Friends who we spend holidays with. Friends who we connect with. How in the world could they not be drinking anymore?
We finished dinner and said a very sober good night to our dear friends, but I was super duper itchy to get home to my bottle of wine hidden in my closet.
I was in the armpit of my addiction. Hiding my drinking. Hiding bottles. Hiding the truth. I had no idea how to stop the internal train wreck that was happening, but something had to change or I was going to lose everything.
Squirming in my chair, it took me two weeks to pick up the phone and call my friend.
“Sooooo, remember how you guys weren’t, like, drinking at dinner? And how you, like, gave us a list of reasons why?”
Without hesitation, this was her response.
“Maria, I’m an alcoholic. I’ve been sober for 2 ½ years. I’m in AA.”
MIND BLOWN! “YOU’RE an alcoholic!!”
I thank God for that night, for our friends and for the list of excuses they gave. I’m also grateful for the questions I had and for my sweet friend’s honesty in sharing her story of sobriety.
It’s how I found mine.
So, let’s try it one last time:
“No, thank you ~ I don’t drink.”
If they start to question you, just keep in mind that they are probably questioning themselves and be prepared to offer your love and support.