Going to weddings, barbecues, concerts, and parties may be an enormous challenge for you, especially in early sobriety. The fear of being exposed as the person that doesn’t drink, or possibly being so tempted that you actually end up drinking, is quite overwhelming.
For me, there was always this uncomfortable time before the event, when my mind would go in circles, as I was trying to figure out what I was going to say, how I was going to say it, and even if I was going to be able to say it at all! And of course, how will the other person react. Will they push on? Will they ask why? Will they laugh at me? Will I have to explain? Will I feel left out? Will I feel uncool? Will I have any fun?! Ugh. Lots to worry about, right?!
But, one of the greatest things that I have learned in recovery was that whatever fear I carry about whatever situation I am facing, it always appears to me, to be way much bigger than what it actually ends up being! And drinking events are no exception! My great fear that I will be the only person not drinking, and that everyone will notice that I am the only person not drinking and that they will all be staring at me, and pointing at me as if I had a huge pimple on the very top of my nose, just because I am not drinking, is completely NOT TRUE!!! What usually happens is that no one notices that I am not drinking, and no one cares that I am not drinking, and then I feel disappointed that no one noticed or cared that I was not drinking!
Here are the 5 things that might be helpful to you!
Order a non-alcoholic drink
Get a coke, club soda, or cranberry and orange juice, then stick a lime on the rim and voilà, it looks like a drink! You can also ask for the virgin (non-alcoholic) versions of Strawberry Daiquiri, Pina Colada or even a Margarita. With a drink in hand already, chances are that no one will be asking you if you would like a drink.
“Yes, I’ll have [your favorite non-alcoholic drink].”
A drink does not mean it has to be an alcoholic drink. We all assume that when asked, “Would you like something to drink?” it has to be an alcoholic drink, but it sure does not! This is a nice way not to have to say no!
Make up Excuses
“I’m driving tonight.”
“I have to work early in the morning.”
“I’m taking medication that I cannot drink with.”
No one has to know that this is not the truth, because it is non of anyone’s business. This is a fast way to get someone to stop asking you if you want to drink.
“No, thank you.”
In the worst-case scenario, and if someone is insistent to get you an alcoholic drink, just walk away, or change the conversation. For example, complement the waiter on their uniform. People love to hear compliments and it often distracts them enough to forget what they were doing before, then just walk away.
“I don’t drink.”
“I am not drinking today.”
“I am in recovery.”
“I am sober.”
Of course, if you are feeling up to being honest, saying that you are choosing to stay sober is probably the surest way to get a persistent person to back off, and maybe even get a high 5 and congrats! Really, this has happened to me, and I strongly believe that we all need to be extremely proud of being sober!
Remember, if you are specifically being asked if you would like an alcoholic drink, say “No, thank you,” and that’s all. There really is no need for any explanations!
This is not always easy. I avoided many events in the beginning because I wanted to protect my sobriety at any and all costs. Of course, at some point, I wanted to have a social life too! So I was ready and willing to take all the necessary steps to ensure that my sobriety was #1 and not in any jeopardy!