Socialising Sober

Heading into social situations without drinking can be very uncomfortable when we first quit alcohol. This Sober Toolbox is a space for sharing tips on how to navigate social events, including what to say to people who question why weā€™re not drinking. If you're looking for more discussion, interactions and feedback, head inside our Members Feed. That's where the real-time conversations take place.

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  1. Bjohn 4 years ago

    Hi Pipi, I am not proud to admit that I was once over zealous in wanting others to drink with me. Now that I have embarked on an alcohol free life style I realize how it was my own need to feel affirmed in my own drinking that motivated me to try to be persuasive.

  2. Anonymous 4 years ago

    “I’m running a Marathon tomorrow, so I’d rather stick to soft drinks”

  3. Angie Lewis 4 years ago

    “I have an ulcer (acid reflux) and I had to cut out alcohol – period”. This is true for me and makes it really easy.

  4. AnonAlcoholic 4 years ago

    “It doesn’t serve me anymore”. I like that one. Simple, and honest without revealing that by “serve” you mean that in fact, you weren’t in charge of it… and that is the best reason to quit.

    • Andymuso 9 months ago

      Like that

    • Lilliane 4 years ago

      Good one.

  5. Anonymous 4 years ago

    I’ve been struggling with this and sadly talking to my toxic family.

    This online community is a good start for me

  6. Anonymous 4 years ago

    I am just trying and starting this…
    I have been socializing in AA and outside a little

    I have been speaking more with my dad and Brother which has been great.

  7. MsLil 4 years ago

    I sometimes say “I have an allergy to alcohol”

  8. Tessa58 4 years ago

    My inspiration to remain successful is knowing my new and only granddaughter will never see her Nana drunk and will only every know me sober and loving.

  9. Anonymous 4 years ago

    Trust me when I say, the USA isn’t much different than NZ in terms of the % of teatotalers. I’m luck to have moved,back to the Midwest and the % increases here…more conservative. Actually, I was,probably one of the heaviest drinkers in my circle, so it makes it easier for me to deal with social situations.

    My big problem is boredom. Even when I was drinking I had to be doing something. Everything just seemed more entertaining after a glass of wine…or two. I’m retired so spend a LOT of time alone. I even find myself more entertaining after a couple glasses of wine. (My dog feels the same way.)

    Oh my. This could be a tough one. However my plan is to live to be 100 and that could be tricky without a liver. LOL

    Good luck everybody.

  10. Tracbean 4 years ago

    I love the comment I feel better when I don’t drink
    Will be using that one this weekend. I have a celebration Saturday with a group of friends I will
    Be having my club soda while they all
    Partake in alcohol. I need this work on having fun
    Without alcohol and getting past the thinking I
    Have to drink to have fun

  11. Sally Fletcher 4 years ago

    I say I don’t drink cos I’m on medication, that interacts with booze

  12. Sally Fletcher 4 years ago

    I say I don’t drink cos I’m on medication, that interacts with booze

  13. Anonymous 4 years ago

    I don’t worry about clever and I don’t feel the need to share my story when asked why we aren’t drinking. I just keep it simple and say, “I never drink. It doesn’t suit me.”
    And if someone persists I just say, “Really I am not going to have a drink. Please stop asking. Thanks.”
    Seems to work…oh and I never allow myself to feel awkward about it…because I love sober.

  14. Kiwigirl33 4 years ago

    I’m on Day 2, and have a big social event every weekend for the next 2 months. My go to is going to be one of the following depending who is asking,
    1. “I’m the sober driver”
    2. “I don’t feel like it tonight”
    3.”If you had my hangovers…you wouldn’t drink either”

    I’ll see how I go, I’m sure I will get shit as my family are big drinkers and don’ like non drinkers lol

    • Pollyonthewagon 4 years ago

      Great list of responses
      You will be fine

  15. Marc 4 years ago

    When they ask why don’t you drink I just tell them alcoholism

  16. Belladonna 4 years ago

    Just joined the group today..getting some really good advice and tips..thanks!

  17. ajmgrm430 4 years ago

    I have not had a drink in 2-1/2 years and I’m still having issues with anything we do that I had previously drank. Which I guess is almost everything! Vacations, dinners, picnics, weddings, etc! I keep thinking maybe I could just drink on special occasions, but a few days later I realize I wouldn’t stop. I have tried N/A beer and mock margaritas (beer and margaritas were my go to drinks), but it seems that alcohol gives me satisfaction and the virgin drinks just add calories. I miss socializing. I explain how hard this is to my husband, but he doesn’t understand, he thinks just quit and there should be no issues. It usually starts an argument since he just doesn’t understand. So I don’t talk to him anymore about it. Since I quit drinking our invitations have dropped too. People you thought were friends were actually only alcohol buddies. When asked why I quit I’m truthful, I had a problem just having a few!

    • Teazy 4 years ago

      I’m struggling with this too, hate having to explain myself and being made to feel like a party pooper, I recent drank again after visitors convinced me I was being anti social and that anyone can have a couple…well couple of bottles of wine maybe, yikes, hope we will figure this out. I hate social I occasions now where there’s lots of drinking and I used to love them, well we all know why ..

  18. Vic 4 years ago

    I can get the same way in hay fever season with white wine. It can also be a reaction to 221. But that’s not gonna bother me anymore because there will be no more white wines for me!!!

  19. Vic 4 years ago

    I normally say that I’ve done a lot of exercise that day and need to hydrate first. Then I get a water in a wine glass and no one asks me again.

  20. Anonymous 4 years ago

    No thanks! drink takes more from me than it gives these days!

  21. Anonymous 4 years ago

    Day 1 for me ,have to do this ,sick of the wasted weekends when I’m to hung over to enjoy anything really .Tired of continuing bargaining with myself . Last night drank wine then moved on to my sons expensive gin .Shameful

  22. Thesobersalesman 4 years ago – Dealing with people who question your sobriety.

  23. Maggie Meiklejohn 4 years ago

    Hey team,

    I’m 120 days sober today and an Honours design student in Wellington. I’m thinking of designing a platform or group where people can connect and make friends with other people who’ve decided to stop drinking. From my experience and talking to others at uni, it can be a bit lonely on a Friday or Saturday night when all of your friends are out drinking and you don’t feeling like being a sober driver or explaining why you’re not drinking… Have you found this to be an issue? And would you be interested in meeting sober buddies in your area and having sober activities to do? This website has a few suggestions like potluck dinners and stuff (

    Would love any suggestions or input you can offer šŸ™‚


    • Eschia 4 years ago

      I’ve been having feelings of loneliness leading to resentments about choosing to not drink. I would be interested in meeting sober people in my area and having sober activities. Thanks for the link.

  24. Shebe 4 years ago

    I tell them the truth! My drinking was getting the best of me so I quit! I will go to the bar once a week to test myself and have a soda instead of a beer. I socialize for a brief time and go home. I have a lot of friends that still drink and they admire my self control thus far. They are drinking friends that know I have made my limits and do not ever push me. These are true people in my book. People who are supportive, yet they choose to sit and drink but are understanding of my delicate condition and my choices.

  25. Anonymous 4 years ago

    I have a big family event today and I plan on not drinking. I am nervous about this and trying to build myself up before I start my day. I only drink at weekends but I’m trying to stop that because of the way alcohol has been making me feel recently- anxious, depressed, lethargic, moody, shameful etc. I can’t stand these feelings anymore. I want to feel good and in a way I do feel good right now but I just know if I take that one drink, I will drink all day at the party and will feel like hell tomorrow. The house I’m going to is going to be full of people drinking. As long as certain people don’t push me and question why I’m not drinking I know there’s a good chance I can do this. I can enjoy conversations, enjoy the food, play with the kids, tidy up and then leave after a decent amount of time without being rude.
    I just had to get this out. I don’t really have anyone to talk to about this because they are all drinkers. They can handle it though. I can’t.

  26. Thesobersalesman 4 years ago – Some ideas for when you get asked why you quit drinking

  27. Debi 4 years ago

    My go to response is “Life is more fun without it.” This one does get a conversation going with my fellow Flight Attendant friends who’ve known me for years.

  28. cheyennemarie 5 years ago

    I have tried to quit a few times and every time I have said that I was getting sick from it, or that I am a better me when I don’t drink.

    I am not sure how to deal with social events, which is one of the reasons I am here.

  29. patty1955 5 years ago

    Sometimes I say “I’m not drinking today/tonight” or “I’m on medication” or “I may have an allergy to alcohol” Or I just say “I don’t drink”. It really depends on the situation. I use the “I don’t drink any more” around people who have known me for a long time. If they know me well enough, they know how I was when I was drinking and won’t say anything else. There are the ones of course who would like it if you kept drinking who will ask more questions or try to get you to drink.

  30. Stella-Mari 5 years ago

    My best line… “No thanks! Alcohol dulls my shine!”

  31. morgan 5 years ago – Holidaying: A positive light beamed on the sober life

  32. Anonymous 5 years ago

    Trying to stay right with God.

  33. Anonymous 5 years ago

    I don’t drink because I want a better tomorrow

  34. Maddie1 5 years ago

    I feel a huge sense of relief that I haven’t got to come home and have a wine anymore (79 days sober). I feel like the pressure is off and half the anxiety and stress that I had has gone. It gets easier every day and I feel so much happier without it. Good luck everyone!

  35. Anonymous 5 years ago

    I’m not sure if I’m posting in the right section here but I felt the need to get this out and this section (socialising sober) seemed fitting enough.
    I am in my late 30s and have drank all my life in “social” situations like “normal” folk. What no one realises (except my husband) is the guilt, angst and depression I go through in the 3 days after a drinking occasion. I have just woken up and finally come out of that horrible time after a drinking session on Saturday night there (it’s now Wednesday morning)…..and I am so relieved to be back in the real world.
    Before my drink on sat night, I had been sober for 35 days, I stopped on Friday the 6th of Jan, and I was feeling great, making progress in my life with regards to dealing with my feelings about things from the past, etc. However on Saturday I did a complete u-turn in my thinking and started to think “well, it’s the long February weekend, everyone’s treating themselves, I can rest all day Sunday, why not have a good drink and then that’s it done and I can go back to my nice sober life”. But it doesn’t work like that. I’ve lost 3 whole days and I hate that. That’s not what I want for my life. So I’m back to being sober and I’m so relieved about that however what do I do when the next holiday comes up? How do I get through family parties without drinking? My family are big drinkers and they don’t seem to suffer like I do.
    Thanks for reading/listening, it’s good to get it out.

    • patty1955 5 years ago

      I just recently started drinking after six years of sobriety. I can relate to the guilt, angst and depression. It is awful! My problem is I stopped working the program about a year ago. I don’t remember it being a conscious decision, I just stopped. I can’t even remember the day I stopped. But I regret it more than anything. You seem like you are truly committed. It is so hard, but it can be done. Good luck and God bless.

  36. HMR 5 years ago

    Watching the pennies watching my waistline or I find it an interesting social experiment to watch people look like while l remain sharp as a bell

  37. Tom4500 5 years ago

    I had fun with “Can’t. My hemorrhoids are acting up.” I found that no further embellishment was needed. It was end of discussion. Of course, not everyone will feel comfortable using that one, and it should be used with discretion. But I had fun with it a few times.

  38. morgan 5 years ago – A satirical blogger offers lots of suggestions as to getting through events

  39. Mrs D 5 years ago – This piece describes how I make mental lists in my mind when faced with a boozy event..

  40. Ingrid 5 years ago

    Preparing myself for this:
    Husband “I want to be healthier. Wanna join me?”
    Friends “Sober is the new black.”
    Colleagues “Wanna play a game of questions?” followed by more questions by me. Distraction! lol

    Back up for any occasion- I’ll follow Charlie Gilbert’s post. “I feel better when I don’t drink.”

  41. Anonymous 5 years ago

    I posted the exact same thought earlier today and am also looking for advice. Have you learned anything in the last few months since your post that you can share?

  42. Anonymous 5 years ago

    I don’t worry so much about what to say to people at social events about why I am not drinking, but rather how to handle the absence of the social lubricant that a glass of wine or two (or more!) provides. I am often at large events with lots of people, with lots of mingling and small talk…All of which I find difficult.
    Any advice?

  43. Janet 5 years ago
  44. NeverTooLateKate 5 years ago

    I have a very common autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s. Apparantely, people with this condition are very sensitive to the effects of alcohol. Alcohol also suppresses thryroid function. That explains a lot in my case. So many of us women have thyroid issues and this is a great reason to give up alcohol.

  45. Jason 5 years ago

    I havnt tried yet but my answer will be. 1 is not enough and 2 is to many.

  46. morgan 5 years ago – Good article about how to survive in an industry where drinking seems compulsory.

  47. Anonymous 5 years ago

    I haven’t stopped yet butI have to. New Years reaolution.
    I need help with the pre dinner time

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