Socialising Sober

What do we say to people who ask why we’re not drinking? What are some clever ways we deal with social events?

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431 Comments
  1. funtimes 3 weeks ago

    One of the suggestions I really love in here is saying it gives me migraines. People can’t argue with that.

  2. angiew 1 month ago

    When I go out I have af beer or tonic . Sometimes tea if they sell it . If it cones up I’m not drinking I proudly say I’ve given up . It’s amazing how many people are intrigued and go into a in-depth conversation about how I’ve done it how I feel and I always get a well done I wish I had the willpower ! Trust me it wasn’t easy when the green slime gremlin was telling me one was ok or it’s a special occasion . He’s pretty much gone now but occasionally he try’s a softer approach to entice me back into his crutches but I learnt from last time how this works .

  3. ginoiseau 3 months ago

    Fizzy water in a tall glass with ice & a slice of lime looks like a gin & tonic (or vodka & tonic). I’m amazed that no-one has actually called me out on my not drinking. Dry-July was a great excuse, then I’ve been a sober driver. Apparently No-Sip-September is also a thing.

  4. Anonymous 4 months ago

    How can I go to a social event and not drink alcohol? How can I ensure I enjoy it? At the moment I feel that I would rather not go out than go out and not drink.
    I might be able to stop drinking at home, but I want to see my friends and go out with them. Some of them don’t drink, it won’t ever be a problem for them if I dont drink. I just feel like it will be too hard for me.

  5. Lorna79 4 months ago

    At the moment it is fairly easy – DRY JULY 🙂 come August and going forward, at my age my excuse is valid and will be ‘we are trying for a baby’ which is true.

    My other go to line is ‘I have heart problems so I’m not allowed to drink anymore’ – again this is true.

    For others though, the ol ‘I’m the sober driver’ is a respectful and usually truthful way to deal with those ‘why aren’t you drinking’ queries, especially if others are used to you being the drunken life of the party!

  6. connilynn 4 months ago

    I’m on day 17 with a goal of 6 months for now. I just found out my sister and brother in law are going to be visiting for my birthday and they are very big drinkers. I think I’m just going to say, if pressed, that alcohol hasn’t been agreeing with me lately- it gives me migraines and saps my energy and I just feel better without it. All of this is true. Another option is to say nothing. I’ve noticed most people don’t even notice I’m not drinking if I have a lime in my water. I may start out that way, and move to the other if she notices and asks. Any thoughts ?

    • Teazy 4 months ago

      hey, this is the same as me, it zaps my energy and gives me migraine, i tell people im taking a break to see if it improves, my sister has always said, ok well just have one, or just have beer, and i reply..that just makes me tired! saying nothing will not work if they are big drinkers, good luck.

  7. kellyl8613 4 months ago

    Just wondering has alcohal free wine/beer been introduced in new zealand yet…

    • TheNephalist 2 months ago

      Mirage wines do really nice alcohol free (AF) wines and there is Seedlip or Ecology which are AF gin. There are a lots of AF beers for sale in the supermarket, it would be great if they didn’t put them right next to the alcohol though.

    • red78 3 months ago

      yep it’s at new world but the alcohol free wine led me back into drinking as I was creating the same habit as when drinking but having a glass of it when i got home from work and eventually I started drinking again.

    • DavidFS 4 months ago

      Yes @kellyl8613 alcohol free beer and wine are available although you usually have to look for it.

  8. Tawdrey 4 months ago

    I haven’t had a drink in 16 years, so I’ve used many reasons. To friends who knew the way I used to drink I’d say, “you know me, I’ve drunk more than my share.” To others I usually wouldn’t need a reason, and now I just say ” I don’t drink”. People don’t usually push. However, recently my new boss at a work event asked me why I didn’t have a drink… I replied that I’d get one later (it was going to be a juice, but I didn’t elaborate)… And he said that was good, because he didn’t trust people who didn’t drink. Oops! People who say that usually have a problem with alcohol themselves.

  9. TwoMagpies 5 months ago

    One leads to too many and then to a hangover. I loathe hangovers.

  10. Feijoa 7 months ago

    I say quite simply “Drinking makes me a t**t”, smile and move the conversation along ? Works a treat every time.

  11. joesdad 9 months ago

    When a bemused and (let’s face it) crestfallen friend asked me at a dinner party recently why I’d stopped drinking, I said “I’ve had enough.” When he continued to look baffled I said “Yeah I know, it’s a huge adjustment, it feels scary and it’s not going to be easy, BUT YOU’LL GET OVER IT!”

    • Dontblamethemusic 8 months ago

      Ha Ha, great response, I like it

  12. Livinglife 9 months ago

    I found that most people won’t worry too much if you choose not to drink. As long as THEY are drinking they are okay with it!!

  13. cdh1 10 months ago

    I love all these! Today is day 8! Woohoo I’ve made it a week. This is not my first time at day 8. I made it 30 days last summer. I want to make it. So, I’m trying different things this time. And that includes preparing myself for social situations that are usually boozy. Later this week…I have my company annual holiday party and it’s just about the booziest most gluttonous event you can imagine. I mean, we sell alcohol for a living. So it’s a company full of overindulgers. I mean, I’ve told my close work friends I’m not drinking this month, that I’m doing a cleanse. And they were surprisingly cool with that. None of them even tried to talk me out of not drinking at the party. And I found out another co-worker is not drinking “this month”. I asked her if she’d like to join me in a “100 day challenge” and she said, “yes!” so I do have someone at work I can check in with, someone else who won’t be drinking this Friday. Someone I can hang out with if things feel weird. I feel strong otherwise. I’ve been doing a lot of self-care over the past week and being kind to myself. But this party coming up is the one thing that has me feeling uneasy and I want to be prepared.

    • robzombie1964 10 months ago

      Being around alcohol that much can make anyone tempted, lol!! The only thing I can throw out for you is to have a plan laid out in case you get a strong urge to drink at the party!! It can be as easy is making sure your car is parked for easy access!! Also dont plan on staying that long!! The later the party goes the more you will likely be tempted to “just have one” Coming early and leaving early will pay dividends not having to worry about waking up hungover wondering where you went wrong!! Maybe even working something out with your cooworker to come and go together!! There is defintely strength in numbers!! Take care and good luck!!

  14. psykez 11 months ago

    “Alcohol messes with my immune system so I decided to stop, last time I almost lost my eye” it’s not entirely untrue, it’s just not the whole truth either.

  15. Seabass 12 months ago

    I like to take the brutally honest approach. You know? Shut’em down immediately. Leave no room for questions ; )

    “I’m not drinking tonight because I have consumed enough alcohol over the last 15 years for 10 lifetimes….yours and mine. Literally, enough to float the titanic on.”

    • Ryantaiji 5 months ago

      Well said

    • Tylee 9 months ago

      Love this response 🙂

    • Schubaby 11 months ago

      I absolutely love that response! I think I just might have to take this one.

      • Sister#6 11 months ago

        I’ve used that exact reply. “I’ve drank my lifetime limit already, I can’t have anymore”. They smile and move on.

  16. sober4real 12 months ago

    I’ve used everything from I’m on a diet, to I’m on antibiotics, to I don’t feel like it, I have to get up early in the morning or the truth…..I don’t drink (when I’m sober). I like what everyone is saying about not caring what other people think. If anyone gives you a bad time they do not have what is best for you on their mind so they probably aren’t someone to hang out with anyway.

  17. Brandon Metallic 12 months ago

    If anyone asks why I’m not drinking I tell them that I’m sober now, that I’m living a positive lifestyle, explain what being sober has brought me and my difficulties of when I wasn’t sober. As for social events I’m really avoiding most occasions right now because I’m fresh in sobriety, but soon I will be watching an MMA event where there’s alcohol served. I explained to my friend that I wont be able to party and that I was going to sleep after the fights and he respects my choice.

  18. Anonymous 1 year ago

    I drank almost every day for 20 years, often just a glass of wine with dinner. Did a 30 day alcohol fast with a few friends. Found the first week very boring, but gradually got into it….Now I drink no more than 4 units a week and often none. I hate the label “alcoholic” – and there is no scientific basis for it. People have various degrees ( or none) of alcohol dependency. For me, the exclusivity and superiority of Group Meetings I attended was terrible. I prefer to be with tolerant people , a good mixture, who simply accept me as I am whether I am drinking or not. I think there is nothing wrong, and a lot right with moderate/occasional drinking. The best reasons I have found to explain either having only 1-2 drinks is “it gives me migraine”! And finally, I have found an alternative AF drink I like – Ginger Ale in a brandy glass with loads of ice. It tastes like my old choice, brandy and ginger ale. Also, if in a place where tea/coffee is available, one trick that works every time for me ( took a while to cop this) is – when ordering my second drink, I order a cup of tea/coffee to follow in a short while. This breaks the alcohol flow and serves me well. But the thing that works best for me is I never drink at home, unless I have a dinner party. Its a cup of tea for everyone now…After a dinner party, I pour any leftover alcohol down the sink. I would have thought that wasteful before and drank it, but it is better to clean my drains than upset my liver!

  19. Chii 1 year ago

    If someone asks me why I’m not drinking, I tell them the truth. “I can’t stop at one, so i’d rather not drink”
    I find it stops people pushing drinks on me.

    • TwoMagpies 5 months ago

      I like this. The truth is a lovely thing.

  20. Bunny 1 year ago

    I’m giving my liver a break before Christmas

  21. Anonymous 1 year ago

    Inherited a bundle of genes that rebel at the very thought of being a real person.

  22. Rikitootoe 1 year ago

    Donn make me derunck, you wo’nt like me when i’m drungk.

  23. TAL 1 year ago

    Just used the days sober / calculate how much I’ve not spent on drinking. and it comes to UK £21,445!!

    holy shit, on so many levels 🙂

    • thecandidme 12 months ago

      This is what I’m thinking too! How much money I can save to do other things!

  24. TAL 1 year ago

    Navigating this situation was one of what felt like many huge, but very real to me, situations to navigate.
    Everyone I know drinks, a lot. Every family occasion is soaked in booze. I have always ‘loved a glass of wine’ (couple of bottles) and every expected to see me with a drink in my hand. I thought, ‘If they see me not drinking they will know that I had a problem, that I’ve ‘had to stop’, that I was…. an ALCOHOLIC!!’ – and I thought, I can’t let that be known. The shame (my parents were also alcoholics. which I know means that there was an increased likelihood of me arriving in the same sorry place, but I also thought, people would think…. “You’d think she should have known better. should’ve seen that coming. la la la”.
    I couldn’t handle the idea of all these things happening. I didn’t want to have to handle it. So I kept drinking.
    WIth hindsight (nearly 2 1/2 years sober) I wish I hadn’t been so concerned with wtf everybody else thinks. I used to care so much. I didn’t think I did, but I did. As I became more sure of myself (this comes naturally with recovery) I began to gain a new perspective on everything. I put things into proper perspective. And with that – I shouldn’t have cared what everyone else might think. This is my life. Theirs is theirs. And we all only get one go at this.
    Today, I feel proud of myself. I love going to family weddings, funerals and every other piss up and being about the only person not getting smashed. I love peoples’ reaction (mostly amazement) that I can spend so much time in a drinking environment, sober, and I shit you not…. Enjoy myself!! It’s true. I do.
    Didn’t think for a minute that would be possible either.
    Getting sober showed me a new me…. well, allowed the one who had been buried to re-surface.

    N.B. You’ll be surprised to find that half the time most people don’t actually notice what you’re drinking or not drinking. They don’t care. Most people are too busy worrying about themselves.

    • petaswan 10 months ago

      Your post has just helped me immensely!

  25. Anonymous 1 year ago

    If anyone ask me… I will say… because its ruining my life in everyway… i hate waking up hungover… with all the drunk trimmings… looking forward to refinding myself

  26. Anonymous 1 year ago

    Hello, i also fall into this category. My main social life are my work colleges who have become friends but its still the usual cocktails after work or someones birthday… and going out for dinner and drinks. I alway attend the meals and can not drink quite easily through it but after the meal is when I struggle. I want to socialise and be around people but not drinking when they are is difficult, humans seek out human interaction its natural but difficult in a society where our social life is based around alcohol. We’ll done the 63 days, that a great achievement. – AG

  27. Lous18 1 year ago

    I have not been out but have been toying with the idea of saying I am on sabitical and moving on lol – actually I should probably just move along instead of getting in a conversation – too new for me.

  28. nurtureandgrow 1 year ago

    I’ve never been asked why i’m not drinking ,I just get that look and you can see the cogs turning and you just sit there with all the thoughts running through your head as to why they think you are not drinking, then someone asks you a question about your aunties dog and you stare at them blankly like you are stoned cause you still trying to interpret Mildred and Mavis’s LOOK…….and who the hang is Aunt Fanny and is something wrong with her dog??????????

  29. nurtureandgrow 1 year ago

    wouldnt it be rude to ask someone why they are not drinking?

    • Anonymous 1 year ago

      Nurtureandgrow, it might be rude but I have several family members I “used to” party with who have no problem calling you out! Especially when they are drinking. Unfortunately most of them will not be my support system. Thankfully I have found this site.

  30. Paula 1 year ago

    That doesn’t mean you are back to square one, so don’t beat yourself up. This happens with most people. It might be helpful to go to some meetings in your area to connect with others who understand this issue. I found it very isolating and lonely when I first quit. Even if you don’t work the steps or speak up in the meetings, the people at them tend to be friendly and supportive.

  31. Anonymous 1 year ago

    When it comes to socializing sober, I used to make excuses, which didn’t make me feel good about myself. I decided to just say rather grandly ‘I never touch a drop of alcohol anymore.’ and let people draw their own conclusions. Some people will keep at it, and I don’t mind having an honest conversation about it. It depends on the person – some people want to have a real interaction, and some people would rather just have a more basic conversation that consists of small talk. I find now that I don’t drink I don’t have an interest in small talk anymore, though of course I will do it at a party to be polite.

    I find it interesting to see people’s reactions to what is in my glass. In my profession I am trained to read body language so no one needs to straight up tell me ‘I am unsettled and uncomfortable by the fact that you are not drinking’ – I can see it. Some people are disturbed by it, but most don’t care. I admit I used to be that person who didn’t want some teetotaler around, so this doesn’t offend me, I understand completely.

    It has been a real shift for me to just say I don’t drink as opposed to ‘I have to get up early’ or ‘I am on antibiotics’ (seriously, I have actually said this several times). It marked the beginning of feeling better about my choice not to drink. It seems almost rebellious to be sober now. If there are a few people who just write me off as ‘someone who can’t drink’ I really don’t mind anymore. Those tend to be those boring small-talk people anyway.

  32. MrsH89 1 year ago

    Drinking is a huge part of my social circle. Every event revolves around cocktails. While I have no desire to drink, 63 days and counting, I am feeling left out at social events….it’s getting a little better each time, but can’t wait for the day that I don’t even think about fitting in.

  33. Ladyhawke 1 year ago

    I just say “I’ve had enough drinking for my lifetime” and leave it at that.

  34. Michelle 1 year ago

    Sober October

    • sarah47 11 months ago

      Dry January, dry July, and now sober October! I like that one!

      • petaswan 10 months ago

        We have ‘September to remember, no goon June, say Nay in May, haha and the list goes on..

  35. Anonymous 1 year ago

    I am having a terrible time at staying sober. I go for 2 weeks and then I am back at it again. I HATE it! I really need a friend to help me stay on track. Please help

    • sarah47 11 months ago

      I think 2 weeks is amazing! I’m on day 4 and feel proud!

    • Alexandra 1 year ago

      You can do this. Be proud of those 2 weeks. It doesn’t make you a failure, it’s a blip, jump back though. Been there done it and now on day 3. We can do this .

  36. sober@sixty 1 year ago

    Not sure why it was ‘obviously’ non-alcoholic, but I too struggle with those comments about ‘being good’. I’ve spent a good deal of my life trying to be the ‘good girl’. Most of the social events I go to are BYOB so I always have my AF cocktails. When anyone asks “what are you drinking” I can respond, honestly, oh…Moscow Mule, or Mojito or ‘Gin” and tonic….they don’t need to know it’s AF! In fact I mixed a friend an AF ‘gin’ and tonic this summer and he had NO CLUE it wasn’t alcohol!!!

    It DOES get easier! And your response should most definitely be “YES I AM!”.

  37. sober@sixty 1 year ago

    Not sure how long you have been on the sober road, but you should find that not ‘everyone’ you know drinks. I found it very interesting to be at social gatherings and seeing how many didn’t drink. If you go out after work for ‘drinks’ you just need to find the best AF substitute for you. For me it’s ginger beer, and if they don’t have that, I ask for a virgin Mojito or just club soda with lime and cranberry juice – everyone assumes its vodka and cranberry anyway! I found in a work situation, if I got to the bar ahead of everyone else and clued the bartender into my AF path, and tipped them well, he/she would just refill my drink without me having to explain that it’s AF. Not ready to come ‘clean’ with the work folk just yet. Most were just really impressed that the bartender knew my order without having to be reminded! 🙂

  38. sober@sixty 1 year ago

    I usually just order a ginger beer. I don’t find it as fizzy as colas. I’m not a cola fan either. Most places stock them now with the popularity of the Mule drinks. I’ll also do club soda with lime and cranberry juice. Sometimes if it’s a place I know, I’ll take my green smoothie powder and ask the bartender to make it into something that looks incredibly good but AF. If only bars would stock AF spirits!

  39. mistchance 1 year ago

    Looking for ideas on alternative drinks when at pubs. I don’t like coca cola, most other splits nor orange juice. I find that I feel totally bloated after 2 drinks of fizzy like ginger ale or soda and lime, and water and lime just gets boring.
    I’m totally ok with not drinking at home, at friends and family – as can take my own flavours or just drink tea/coffee but find the pubs a different story. I play pool in the winter so find it really hard to remain sober with nothing very good as an alternative.

    • Anonymous 12 months ago

      I love club soda with lime or soda water (called different things in different countries) with lemon/lime.

  40. Eola 1 year ago

    Just a quick update on my AF life. 72 days and counting, and today have at last recovered my old running form. On average, I’ve run about three times a week, totalling about 24 miles. I’ve done this for years, booze being the only thing that prevented any progression. I’ve even stopped running altogether for long periods of up to a whole year, due to my booze and ganja intake. On February 2018 I decided to put a stop to that and started running again, that is until the good weather was back! I spent about 5 weeks drinking as if there was no tomorrow, during the summer. It was the last time I drank, by the way, and coming back to training has been slow and painful. I even doubted at some point that I could have the energy or the faith in myself to train the way I used to, but now I know I’m back. The session of today (a five miler), has been wonderful, and I felt the power return to my legs and lungs. Being sober is the best thing ever! Big hugs to all of you and kudos to @kitten. Congrats for your 72th day of freedom, buddy! 🙂 xxx

  41. Laurie 1 year ago

    Sorry to hear you are so unhappy with your sobriety. I also have 4 years. Can I ask the obvious question?.
    Are you going to meetings ??

  42. Anonymous 1 year ago

    what do i do if everyone i know drinks.. being alone all the time sounds awful 🙁

    • Travelbug 10 months ago

      Find new playmates….

  43. TJ 1 year ago

    Day 2. Done 35 days before but always alone. This is the first time I have looked online for blogs and support. Only now do I realise I have a problem that needs tackling. Something needs to change. Will probably avoid social events for a bit. Haven’t figured out what I will say when the time comes. One hour at a time right now.

  44. sobergirl 1 year ago

    I started with dry july…then abstain August….sober September….none for November…dry December. …juicy January…..fasting February. …masterful March. ..amazing April….magnificent May…jubilant June…etc

    • Soberkiwi 1 year ago

      Mmmmm…..what can we say for ‘October’….how about: Off Limit October, Omission October, One-Way October, Overhaul October……

      • sarah47 11 months ago

        Sober October!!

  45. Matt 1 year ago

    I tried all sorts of things when asked by people at events why I’m not drinking but realised that in the end the best response for me actually was as a simple truthful answer “because it makes me feel better” this also helped me feel good and sub consciously reinforce my decision to give up drinking. It’s funny, most people drink because they think it makes them feel better but I found for me it’s actually the other way around. I stopped drinking over a year ago now and the would never go back to it.

    • JBanne21 1 year ago

      Honesty, makes a body feel good

  46. SalliAnne Maliguine 1 year ago

    I’m off the sauce.

  47. Jo 1 year ago

    Love this! ❤️

  48. medje350 1 year ago

    Hey, I have only just done dry July and I am considering rolling it out into August. But just thought I would post something that I found helpful – I am new here so it may have already been mentioned before so sorry if I am repeating a similar experience from someone else.
    About two days into dry July I won a bar tab at my tennis club. I turned it down. I found that once I had turned that down it was very easy to say no to everything else for the remainder of the month. It was very easy – if you can say no to a bar tab you can say no to anything right? Anytime I needed to explain to someone why I just pointed out turning down the bar tab, people understood immediately that they could not compete with a bar tab.
    I know that I will not get offered a bar tab to say no to at the start of every month. But it got me thinking that if you are ever feeling pressured into a drink it is worth reminding yourself that in the past you have turned down alcohol in more appetising situations.

  49. sober@sixty 1 year ago

    Here’s something else I’ve found is helpful. If you have a partner that is supporting your recovery and you are together at an event, I’ve found having a ‘code’ word or phrase to help. It signals to them that you are struggling without broadcasting it to the entire crowd, and they can help you. Whether it’s to leave permanently or just take a walk to catch your breath and sanity! I use “do you have any gum” with my husband. When we are at events and I go up to him with that question he will answer, not on me, but in the car, do you want me to get it for you? Or I’ll got with you….

    • Skibabe 11 months ago

      That’s a great idea, thanks 🙂

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