Staying clean is the top priority in everyone’s life once they find recovery. You can do your best to avoid temptation by working your recovery program. You know it’s important to stay away from people, places and things that tempt you. However, life is unpredictable. Sometimes you run into old friends at the grocery store or on the street. Other times, you may simply be forced to go to a work function and somebody may offer you a drink.
You don’t have to tell anybody you’re in recovery if you don’t want to. After all, 12-step programs are anonymous because addiction still has stigma.
Here are 25 ways to say no to a drink or drug. Practice them, just in case. Always be polite but firm. If a person tries to push you once you’ve answered, be prepared to walk away. If you’re at an event and feel pressured, do something else.
- “No, thank you!”
- “Not tonight, thanks!”
- “I am getting up really early tomorrow.”
- “Sorry, I quit”
- “Sorry, I don’t drink.”
- “I can’t, I’m driving.”
- “My doctor told me to quit.”
- “I promised my husband I won’t drink tonight!”
- “My wife would kill me!” (Clear it with her, first!)
- “ Thanks, but I’m the designated driver.”
- “Thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t tonight.”
- “No thanks! I’ve drank enough to last a lifetime!”
- “No thanks! I’ve been sober for a year now!”
- “No thanks. I don’t want to, tonight.”
- “No thanks, I’ve got an early meeting tomorrow!”
- “Sorry, it makes me sick!”
- “No thanks, I’ve got an allergy!”
- “I’m already dehydrated enough, not tonight!”
- “Thanks, but I make really bad decisions when I drink!”
- “I don’t drink, but thanks!”
- “Drinking really messes with my health.”
- “I can’t, I have a drinking problem.”
- “I’m too sleepy to drink tonight.”
- “I can’t – I’m on medication that makes it dangerous.”
- “No thanks! I’m quitting for a while.”
There are many other ways to inform people that you quit drinking or using drugs. When you’re in a party scenario or random situation, it’s usually not the time for long-winded explanations.
Saying “no” gets easier the longer you’ve been clean and sober, and after a while it comes naturally. Sometimes being creative is fun and helps difuse an awkward situation. Do what feels right for you and call your sponsor for guidance when you need it.