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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416 Comments
  1. Feijoa 2 months ago

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

  2. joesdad 4 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 3 months ago

      Ha Ha, great response, I like it

  3. Livinglife 5 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!!

  4. cdh1 6 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 5 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!!

  5. psykez 7 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.

  6. Seabass 7 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.”

    • Tylee 5 months ago

      Love this response 🙂

    • Schubaby 6 months ago

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

      • Sister#6 6 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.

  7. sober4real 7 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.

  8. Brandon Metallic 7 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.

  9. Anonymous 8 months 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!

  10. Chii 8 months 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.

  11. Bunny 8 months ago

    I’m giving my liver a break before Christmas

  12. Anonymous 8 months ago

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

  13. Rikitootoe 8 months ago

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

  14. TAL 8 months 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 7 months ago

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

  15. TAL 8 months 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 5 months ago

      Your post has just helped me immensely!

  16. Anonymous 8 months 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

  17. Anonymous 8 months 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

  18. Lous18 8 months 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.

  19. nurtureandgrow 8 months 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??????????

  20. nurtureandgrow 8 months ago

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

    • Anonymous 8 months 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.

  21. Paula 8 months 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.

  22. Anonymous 8 months 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.

  23. MrsH89 8 months 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.

  24. Ladyhawke 8 months ago

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

  25. Michelle 8 months ago

    Sober October

    • sarah47 6 months ago

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

      • petaswan 5 months ago

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

  26. Anonymous 8 months 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 6 months ago

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

    • Alexandra 8 months 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 .

  27. sober@sixty 9 months 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!”.

  28. sober@sixty 9 months 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! 🙂

  29. sober@sixty 9 months 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!

  30. mistchance 9 months 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 7 months ago

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

  31. Eola 9 months 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

  32. Laurie 9 months 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 ??

  33. Anonymous 10 months ago

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

    • Travelbug 6 months ago

      Find new playmates….

  34. TJ 10 months 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.

  35. sobergirl 10 months 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 9 months ago

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

      • sarah47 6 months ago

        Sober October!!

  36. Matt 10 months 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 9 months ago

      Honesty, makes a body feel good

  37. SalliAnne Maliguine 10 months ago

    I’m off the sauce.

  38. Jo 11 months ago

    Love this! ❤️

  39. medje350 11 months 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.

  40. sober@sixty 11 months 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 6 months ago

      That’s a great idea, thanks 🙂

  41. GingerBeardMan 11 months ago

    When I first gave up drinking I ordered pints of apple juice. Just looked like cider and that way I wouldn’t get asked constantly why I wasn’t drinking. It worked! No one noticed at all, it wasn’t until after a month of Tuesday darts nights that I felt I could say I wasn’t drinking and not cave in to peer pressure. But everyone was really supportive and it wasn’t an issue in the end.

    • Nowlearnon 11 months ago

      I was in my local pub yesterday all my, mates were there l was drinking diet coke, they asked me why I wasent drinking my usual cans of Strongbow cider, I said because I am going, to a fitness class, after I said this they joked around for a while, then we talked about other, subjects. After a few hours in there company I went home, to be honest the urge to have a drink was strong. I won’t go to the pub again until I’ve got more sober time, under my belt I am just glad I am sober.

      • sober4real 7 months ago

        Great job on getting out of there and taking care of yourself. I used to hear sayings like don’t go to the barber shop if you don’t want a hair cut. Old fashioned but makes sense. I am too sick to drink right now but most of the time it’s hard to say no. If I had one it would be all over with!

  42. Anonymous 11 months ago

    Today I will face my first real challenge lunch and dinner where drinking wine is expected because that is their normal. I think I got this!!! Wish me luck!

    • sober@sixty 11 months ago

      For me most social events are a BYOB type of thing, so I find being prepared critical. I plan what ‘mocktail’ I’m going to bring and when people ask what I’m having I’ll say Moscow Mule, Raspberry Mint Julep, Mojito, etc. they don’t need to know its sans alcohol! I also steer clear of any ‘bar’ area at a function. For more intimate gatherings I let the host know ahead of time that I’m on the sober road. I offer to bring my own seltzer, etc. ‘Those that matter don’t mind and those that mind don’t matter’, comes to mind. I did have someone say at one event when I confessed to a small group that I was living alcohol free that “that’s no fun”. Well, I think my definition of ‘fun’ has changed. I love being able to engage in conversations and actually remember them! I REALLY love waking up without that brain fog or worse, a hangover!

    • Lakeview 11 months ago

      Good Luck

  43. Anna Correia 11 months ago

    Today is the First day of the my Sober Life

  44. luanastar 11 months ago

    65 days…not a single drop has passed my lips. My friends and family are skeptical but have been supportive at the same time. A couple of my friends think Im just having a break and in due course I will succumb to having a glass of wine. In the last couple of months I have been to concerts, dinner and spent weekends with my booze loving friends, and I didnt feel the need to drink to have a good time with them, I asked them to just continue being themselves…and that they will soon realise that I am still my funny self. I am now the sober driver and get to laugh and enjoy their company…and actually remember a good time out and about.

    • Sunnysgirl 10 months ago
    • LittleLisa 10 months ago

      This is a very helpful post. I am only at day 3 but going out with friends is a huge fear. I know most will understand, but it’s still hard as I LOVE going out for a glass(wish that were the case, usually more) of wine with my friends!!!

  45. Horsehead 11 months ago

    I am 7 days today and what usually gets me (besides emotional stressors) is the need to cut loose and with total abandon. Im hoping that riding bike or other physical activities can fulfill that need for a “fix”. That maybe adrenaline from exercise can replace the euphoric numbing of drinks with good friends

    • Tom4500 11 months ago

      If only that euphoric numbing of drinks with good friends wasn’t so fleeting, and didn’t turn into feeling so bad. I have felt what you are feeling. Those moments are hollow, although I admit they were momentarily fun. Can physical activities help? I think they help me some. Nice to see you again, Horsehead, and well done on getting that tough first week behind you.

  46. Todd 12 months ago

    I also say I cant drink due to meds Im taking…they dont need to know what the meds are…

  47. Todd 12 months ago

    I simply say I have drank enough for 1 lifetime!!!

  48. Susan Wise 12 months ago

    I learned from RecoveryElevator to play the tape visualize what would happen if I had one glass of wine

    • Horsehead 11 months ago

      Thats been helpful to me as well. I will have to exercise that visualization muscle! Im 7 days today!

  49. TAS 12 months ago

    My excuse too. Which is now true, as I take something for my depression and anxiety

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