7 Excuses for Not Drinking

7 Excuses for Not Drinking

It’s officially the holiday season and you may have several holiday parties coming up on your agenda. Whether it’s a social event for work, with friends, or a family engagement, it can be expected that most holiday parties will involve alcohol.

If you’re worried about facing questions like, “Why aren’t you drinking?” or “Would you like a drink?” you’re definitely not alone. Events like these can be particularly challenging for sober people in recovery, especially those who have just recently given up alcohol for good.

Unfortunately, many people in recovery will face social pressure to drink because celebratory events and parties in our society often revolve around alcohol. Although some people will respect your privacy enough not to ask why you’re not drinking, others may not.

In high-risk situations like this, one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your sobriety is to plan ahead.1 Have a prepared reason for not drinking before you leave to go to the party. You don’t have to lie, but you also shouldn’t feel obligated to share your life story if you don’t want to.

If you’re preparing for the holiday parties of the season and you need some ammo, here are seven great excuses for not drinking.

7 Great Reasons for Not Drinking at Your Next Social Event

  1. “I’m a recovering alcoholic.”

If you prefer to be straightforward about your decision to not drink, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with telling people that you’re in recovery or that you’re currently enrolled in a transitional living program. If you’re ready and willing to tell your story, this is a great way to share and possibly even encourage someone else to get help for their own addiction. You never know who may be struggling with alcohol or drug addiction and sharing your recovery experience might be a great way to provide support and encouragement for someone else who needs it.

  1. “I’m driving.”

Being the designated driver is a great (and responsible) reason for not drinking at a holiday party or social event. Drunk driving accidents accounted for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S., killing 10,265 people in 2015.2 No one should give you a hard time about not drinking and driving.

  1. “I don’t like alcohol.”

If someone asks you why you’re not drinking, you can always just say that you don’t like it. Everyone has a right to their own personal preferences and many people truly do not like the taste of alcohol. You don’t have to elaborate on why you don’t like it, so even if you do like the taste, you can not like what it does to your body, how it affects your life, and the problems it causes.

  1. “I gave up alcohol.”

This is a great response for those who want to make it clear that they won’t be drinking now or ever again, but don’t want to elaborate on their addiction treatment. You are not obligated to explain your reasoning for giving it up but if someone asks and you want to explain the reasoning behind your decision, you can always do so. Or not.

  1. “I am drinking … water!”

If jokes and sarcasm are more your style, feel free to throw people off with a response like this one. A question like, “Why aren’t you drinking?” is completely unwarranted if you already have a glass of water, coke, or club soda in your hand and responding in this way is a great way to divert attention from the fact that you’re not choosing to drink an alcoholic beverage. Plus, if people see you carrying around a drink, they may not even realize it’s non-alcoholic.

  1. “I’m making some lifestyle changes.”

You don’t have to lie and say that you’re on a diet or an alcohol-free cleanse. Rather, you can allude to the fact that you’ve made some changes in your diet and lifestyle by simply acknowledging the fact that you’re not drinking alcohol. Unless they really want to hear why, most people won’t push you any further.

  1. “No thanks.”

When asked if you want a drink, the easiest way to respond is with a simple, “No thanks.” No excuses are necessary. If a person keeps bothering you about it, feel free to just walk away. You don’t need to explain your decision or feel pressured to change it.

Tips for Attending Social Events While Sober

If you are currently enrolled in a sober living program or recently completed one, it may take some time before you are able to comfortably attend social events without feeling tempted to drink.

Prioritizing your sober lifestyle isn’t always easy, but there are several ways you can manage high-risk situations like social events without jeopardizing your sobriety.

  • Don’t go. If you are brand new to the sober living lifestyle or social events are especially difficult for you, it’s okay to sit them out. You don’t have to go to an event if you feel like it has the potential to disrupt your sobriety.
  • Bring a sober friend. A trusted sober friend can help keep you accountable at social events where it might otherwise easy to give in to temptation.
  • Plan to check in with a friend or sober coach before and after the event. If you decide to go to a social event where you know there will be alcohol, communicate with your sober coach or an experienced sober friend. Make a plan to call him or her both before and after the event to check in.
  • Leave the event early. Often times parties and social engagements get crazier as the night wears on, especially if there is alcohol involved. Leave early to avoid all the craziness and enjoy the rest of the night at your sober living home, cuddled up on your couch with a good book or a movie.

If you’re not currently enrolled in a transitional housing program but you think you need additional support to stay sober, Eudaimonia sober living homes may be a great choice for you.

Our transitional living program provides a safe, supportive, and sober living environment for men and women in recovery. Our sober living homes and programs are designed to help individuals in all stages of recovery with varying levels of recovery support services.

Call Eudaimonia Recovery Homes to learn more about our sober living homes in Austin, Houston, and Colorado Springs or to enroll today.


  1. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh23-2/151-160.pdf
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html
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