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Thanks, I’d Love a Drink!

I know, that sounds a bit strange right? Well, I was thinking lately how I used to always assume that when someone asked me if I wanted a drink, it meant an alcoholic drink! And when that question popped up I tended to sort of get nervous and stumble around for the right words when I didn’t particularly feel like explaining to them that I have a disease that requires me not to drink one day at a time.  And I most certainly didn’t need to disclose right away that I was an alcoholic and in recovery. SO, I have always learned to say NO, THANK YOU! This is a great technique, clear and and to the point. But it may be sometimes difficult to face those strange looks you get afterwards, or the many questions following, or that persistent nagging.

Arnold Palmer

Arnold Palmer

So I was thinking, a drink is just a drink, it can be anything I want it to be, right? So why not say “Thank you, I would love a drink! Could I have a Diet Coke with a lime?”

Let me tell you this feels soo freeing! I have now done this several times and I feel really strong doing it this way. It actually allows me to say Yes and not feel awkward by having to say no. And for some reason, I have not had a single person ask me if I was sure I didn’t want an alcoholic drink. I am not quite sure why this works, maybe because I say it with enthusiasm, like I was ordering the best cocktail in the world! LOL! Well, to me I am, love my Diet Coke with a lime! And it is great cover up too. (My other favorite drink is the Arnold Palmer, which is half iced tea and half lemonade.)

Of course I have gone thru my fair share of people pushing drinks my way! I do know that there are other instance when people specifically say “Would you like some wine or a cocktail.” Well, then I kinda have to say, “No, thank you,” but then I quickly follow it by saying, “But I’d love a Diet Coke with a lime!” I also am aware that for instance a restaurant is safer than a party at someone’s house; restaurant servers cannot push drinks on you! But if I ever have to go to party at someone’s house, and I mean really HAVE to, I make sure that I speak firmly and with self-confidence when it comes to declining the drink. (or I may throw in a joke as a distraction!)

When asked why I am not drinking I can say:

  • I don’t feel like it.
  • I am the designated driver.
  • I am getting over a bad cold.
  • I am doing a cleanse.
  • I am allergic to hops – this is an actual allergy and people with it cannot drink beer.
  • I have an early morning appointment.
  • I am feeling dehydrated and under the weather

The funny version:

  • I am training for the Olympics.
  • It makes me absolutely crazy.
  • I am allergic, I breakout in handcuffs.

And of course the upfront open version:

  • I am a recovering alcoholic. – If I am upfront about being a recovering alcoholic, I find that most people are not only apologetic but also become supportive. Of course you may not feel comfortable with this approach at first but really, this is the most definite way to get someone to stop pushing a drink on you!

But no matter what you do, be sure feel comfortable with it, then to plan it out and stick to your plan. If you are in early recovery, I would really recommend avoiding drinking gatherings, especially during the holiday season. It is hard enough to get sober, and even harder to stay sober if you are surrounded by people who are drinking. Also, if you have any doubts about a possibility of you drinking, DO NOT GO! And, if you get to the party and feel uncomfortable LEAVE! It is really important to be honest with yourself, it is OK to not feel safe around alcohol!


I’d love to hear your suggestions too! What other tools do you have in your toolbox?

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at

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  1. When I am offered a drink I tend to stick to coffee and water as my response as they are things that most people/ places have available though I do enjoy a nice cherry lime aid when I can. As for when some one asks specifically about alcohol I generally just say, “No thank you.” and that will usually suffice. If need be, however, I have never found it hard to tell people that I don’t drink, or to explain that I have a drinking problem. Also, I don’t find much entertainment in being around other people while they get drunk so my presence at social gatherings of that type are usually brief at best.


    • Oh, cherry lime aid is pretty good! Yeah, you wont find me hanging around drunk people too much either! LOL! But sometimes I find myself in these situations, usually around the holidays when i have to make appearances somewhere., its usually work related – this used to stress me out to the max! But it’s nice to have something else to say besides “No, thank you.” It’s great to see that we have options, that we can be fun about it – in the end it is whatever works and keeps us from drinking anyway. Thanks for the great comment!


  2. I like the range of options you’ve given here…so many good ones to choose from and tailor fit to the crowd and setting. I don’t do much socializing, so it’s been less an issue to come up with words, but these days I feel confident in asking for a non-alcoholic drink with no explanation. Your point about assuming drink means cocktail is a really good one. Love your posts, this was a great one.


    • Thanks BBB. I am not much of a “party girl” anymore either. But this weekend we were at my husbands work holiday party and I just felt like, oh goodness, here we go again, and I though I really hate it, there has to be some other way. I think this is definitely easier done in a restaurant, where the wait staff has to be more PC or something! But yeah, why did I always think that a drink meant alcohol! Sheesh no clue… Thanks for stopping by!


  3. Great post! And great comments too so far. I agree with everything here on this page.

    Like BBB, I don’t do much socializing, so I am not concerned about being cornered by a swagger of swigging argonauts with their stout mugs and heavy influence. Most of the people I do socialize with know my lot in life, so it’s not a big deal. And frankly, all of them are social drinkers – never more than 2 or 3 at one sitting (crazy, I know…lol), but in times where I am offered a drink (read:booze) a simple “no thanks” has always sufficed. I have had people press now and then, and I just go to “I don’t drink any more” or like you, do something humourous – my usual line is “If life was a party, then I’ve used up all my drink tickets”

    Anyway, great post, and yes, there is something freeing about actually saying what I want to drink rather than assume it’s alcohol!



    • Same here Paul, most people that know me, know that I don’t drink and know why, so I don’t usually have these issues. I do however, remember in the beginning of my sobriety, it was quite different. I was so scared of the whole idea of declining drinks and ordering none-alcoholic ones and the fear of the questions and stares and judgement – it was pretty nuts! But I see today that it was mostly made-up in my own head! LOL! So why not change the thinking!

      Thanks Paul!


  4. When I am asked why I don’t want a drink, I usually go for confusion….only because it makes me laugh. Here is a typical reply from me-

    “I can’t have a drink because if I do the Minotaur will know my location…and the locusts will be sent to swarm me.”

    After that, I usually don’t get asked again.
    Great post. For me, it doesn’t matter if anyone else is comfortable or not with my choice to not drink. I am comfortable with it and that choice allows me freedom.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!


    • Thanks g2g! Yeah, I am sure that scares many people away! LOL! I think for me this was sort of not about being comfortable but maybe being a bit more light hearted about it, having a bit more fun with it, you know like you said like you say above! I think you’re right on though, we have a choice today, and that is freedom in itself! Thanks for the great comment!


  5. I absolutely love ‘I’m training for the Olympics’ – totally going to use that? Also is that picture a diet coke with lime soda? I’ve never tried that. I don’t offer any explanation unless pressed to do so. And even then what I say depends on who it is!


    • LOL! I’ve been training for the Olympics for quite a while now! He He!
      That picture is of an Arnold Palmer – half iced tea and half lemonade – sort of looks like a long island iced tea. Its really good and chances are that most people around wont even know that that is a none-alcoholic drink! Thanks for stopping by!


  6. While I have nothing new to add to your most excellent list of suggestions I confess that I am an unabashed user of the last. In an effort to bring levity to the situation and to shake things up a bit, I am very upfront with the fact that I cannot drink in safety. Some people, of course, bristle a little but the majority of people I come across find the transparency refreshing and occasionally endearing; that is until I leave the room. Who knows what the hell they are saying? 🙂
    All in all though, I am not often in the company of social drinking. With that being typed, I am going to a holiday gala on the 24th that is being hosted by my former employers who are nothing short of wonderful people who drink like the are going to win something. Fitting that they own a bar and I was their bartender for ten years. I am close with the family and look forward to glad-handing all the guests that will be present at my former employers’ house, all of whom I used to over-serve while I was over-serving myself, but I know that I will tire quickly of the shenanigans and, of course like a good little doobie, already have my exit strategy in place. It involves quietly leaving when no one is looking. Good stuff.
    Well, thank you for sharing this post. I’ll have you know that I sincerely enjoy your writing and I am most definitely going to add “I am allergic, I breakout in handcuffs.” to the repertoire. So true.
    Happy and healthy holidays!


    • Hi Glenn! Thank you so much for the kind words. I totally agree, I like to be upfront too. Especially at a party at someone’s house, I would have to be upfront, for sure, and have an escape plan!

      Thanks for the great comment. I hope you had a good time at the party!


  7. Oh Maggie! I love this!! So true. For me, when I took away the booze & drugs, I was still left with me. Even though I am getting better with Grace, hardwork and cooperating with my HP, yup, still Clairey. A drama queen with diarrhea of the mouth! Keep it simple quite often seems like a foreign language! So the question, “do you want a drink?” & my usual reply “your friends and family, your town and state do not want me to drink! Trust me, I can’t have just one. One will lead to a gazillion & next thing you know I’ll be doing lines of cocaine on your antique, passed down for 10 generations and came over in the mayflower dining room table AND then I’ll proboy steal your family car and somehow end up in jail and be on the front page of the paper tomorrow morning! So no drink for me thanks!” Lol, see my point? Keep it simple? What? Hahahaha!

    Yup, this alcoholic/addict might just take a suggestion from a like minded friend! But crap, I hate diet coke!

    Wait don’t take thinks so literally you say Miss Maggie?!

    Oh ok, yes please, I would love a cup o joe.

    Thanks Maggie! Merry Christmas!


    • Lol! Clairey, I am laughing and nodding! You are a trip. But so true, same here really, I can’t have one, it leads to too much destruction! And I am learning to have a filter now… slow going with that, but sometimes I come up with something good, lol! And at my husband’s work party this worked really well, I don’t think it was the right place to go all out with the spiel.

      Love a good cup o joe! And any time of the day 😀

      Merry Christmas Clairey. Sending many hugs!


  8. Maggie, I love all of your posts, so I need to say something stronger here. How about, I love, love, LOVE this post!?! Seriously, what a great perspective, I have never even considered the question from that angle before! Yes, I would love a Diet Pepsi (sorry, but I am a Pepsi gal, and it has absolutely become my replacement drink… I cannot pass up a Diet Pepsi fountain soda!)!

    Your other suggestions are also awesome, and so important to share with everyone during this season, but my personal take-away is the mental shift the next time someone asks me if I would like a drink.

    Love it! Hope you had a fantastic holiday!


    • Hi Josie! Yes, the mental shift! It really is, it’s so cool. It’s the part of being comfortable in my own skin and being ok with who I am. This is soo very important, I have never been able to feel this way. I hope this can inspire people to get sober, because life gets good, really good 😀

      Thanks Josie!


  9. Great stuff: Other funny comments when someone offers you alcohol (best said in spring and summer): Look at your watch and say: “No thanks, I have to be home by Christmas…”

    I have a friend who goes to clubs all the time and has never had a taste of alcohol in his life. 32 years old. When I asked him what he says when people pressure him to drink, or want to know why he doesn’t, he looked at me like I was crazy. “Nobody cares what I do! Why would they?” It makes me think that most of the pressure probably exists in my head, and I’m so ready for someone to grill me that I probably bring the question out in them.

    Thanks for writing!


    • Lol!I think you’re right. I think we bring it on yourself more than anyone cares… it’s that part of the disease that make us think that we are the center of the universe. The terminally unique, all or nothing! And the shame and


      • Dag, hit the button accidnetly. Anyway, in early sobriety it was really hard, it was all I could think about – what other people were thinking of me was sooo huge in my head. So here is another gift of sobriety, I can be honest or funny, or just order a diet coke with a lime!
        Thanks for stopping by.


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