The holidays are often filled with get-togethers with family and friends and are seen as a time to celebrate and relax. Unfortunately, this also frequently becomes a prime time for drinking to occur as people let loose. This can be especially challenging if you are in recovery and no longer drink, or if you are consciously focusing on cutting back on your drinking.

Don’t let others pressure you into drinking when you have worked so hard on your recovery to get where you are today. If you know that there will be a lot drinking at an event, it may be best to simply avoid it all together to eliminate the stress or temptation. Make plans to get together at a later time. If you are going to a party, be prepared with a few strategies for politely saying no to drink invitations and shifting the focus to something non-alcohol related.

Tips for Saying No to Drink Offers

Here are some strategies you may want to consider during the holidays (or at any time during the year):

  1. “No thank you, I’m not drinking tonight.” You can always follow this up with saying you were at an event the night before, are going somewhere later, have to pick up your kids, told your spouse you weren’t going to drink, etc.
  2. “No thank you, I shouldn’t mix alcohol with my medication.” No one needs to know what you’re on medication for (if you are at all), but most people know that you shouldn’t mix alcohol with anything you may be taking.
  3. “I’m the designated driver tonight.” Everyone wants to get home safely!
  4. “I’ve had enough to drink, thanks.” A very true statement if you’re in recovery and embracing sobriety.
  5. “I’m good with what I’ve got, thanks.” Keep a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand that you can sip on throughout the evening. No one needs to know what’s in your glass. Just make sure that you get your own drink and keep it with you so you don’t accidentally get something with alcohol.
  6. “No thank you, I’m focusing on improving my health, so I’m not drinking.” That’s what recovery is all about.
  7. “No thank you, I am in recovery and I don’t drink.” If you feel comfortable, you can always be open and honest and tell someone that you are in recovery and do not drink any longer.

Figure out what you feel comfortable with and what works best for each situation. Don’t worry about sounding like a broken record – be firm in your decision to not drink and don’t let others pressure you to do otherwise. Once you’ve said no, offer a change of conversation by discussing the music, decorations, plans for the holidays, funny stories that happened, or other things you may have in common.

Enjoying time with family, friends, and coworkers does not have to revolve around drinking. You can have fun while remaining substance-free and staying committed to your recovery. Choose invitations wisely and know your limits.

If the holidays have made you aware that your drinking has become problematic, you’re ready to make a positive change in your life, or you’ve had a slip while in recovery, turn to Seacliff for the support you need to get back on track. Seacliff Recovery Center offers individualized treatment plans to fit your needs whether you are just starting out in recovery or are looking for structured guidance along the way. Living a life you love in sobriety is possible.

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