20 Polite excuses not to drink during the holidays

One of the most difficult things about the holidays when you are in a 12 step program like Alcoholics Anonymous is refusing the many drinks that people offer you. You do not want to offend them and it is a pain to explain why you are not drinking to each and every person who offers one. You might simply want to keep the fact that you are in a rehab program quite and do not want to reveal your sober status. There are a number of polite excuses not to drink that you can use that do not involve lengthy explanations.

1. No Thanks, I’m Driving

In the days of drunk driving accidents, this is usually enough to stop even the most adamant of offers.

2. I Just Finished One

This works best when you have a glass in your hand. At parties do not be afraid to take advantage of soft drinks placed in the glasses that alcohol comes in.

3. Show Your Glass and Say I Already Have One

Many clubs and bars will give you a different cup if you are drinking soda or water. Just ask the bartender for a glass that alcohol normally comes in and have them refill it periodically with soda or water.

4. I Have to Be at Work Tomorrow

This works particularly well if you do in fact have to be at work tomorrow. Be wary of this one if the holiday party is on a night where you normally would not have to work the following day.

5. I Have to Be Up Early Tomorrow

You don't need alcohol to enjoy the holidays.

You don’t need alcohol to enjoy the holidays.

This is similar to using the work excuse but works if tomorrow is not a normal workday, although this one might just increase the pressure to drink.

6. I Want to Be Clear Headed Later

This works if someone is pressuring you early in the evening.

7. I Have Had Enough Tonight

This one also goes off well when you have a glass either full or empty in your hand.

8. I’m Tired and Alcohol makes me Sleepy

This is great when it is later in the evening and you have been making excuses all night to others.

9. No Thanks, I’ve Been Feeling Under the Weather Lately

No one expects someone who is sick or is getting over a cold to indulge in alcohol.

10. That Type of Drink Makes Me Sick

This works well when someone is offering to give you a specific type of drink. This works with every type of drink and even drink combinations. There are many people who get sick off specific types of drinks.

11. I’ve Had a Bad Experience with that Type of Alcohol

Of course you insert whatever type of alcohol they are offering into the sentence such as “I’ve had a bad experience with tequila.”

12. I’m Good for Right Now, Maybe Later

This excuse can work over and over especially if you have a glass in your hand. You do not have to tell people that the glass in your hand never contained alcohol or what you might be drinking later.

13. It’s Getting Late, I’d Better Not

This works particularly well if it is a weekday or if it actually is late in the evening. Most people understand that you do not want to drink as a party is winding down and people are getting ready to drive home.

14. I am Still Recovering from the Last Party

As a generic excuse, this works well. No one knows what you were up to during the holidays and no one has to know.

15. Recruit Allies

Although this is not technically an excuse, it works if you let the bartender or person pouring the drink know that you are not drinking. Ask her or him to pour you a soda water or something the looks like a drink instead of adding alcohol to your cup.

16. I am not a Happy Drunk

You should only use this one if someone is persistent and not a close friend. It works well when you are around strangers. Try not to use this one with people that you work with because it might start a rumor.

17. I’m on a Diet and Alcohol is Fattening

With today’s health conscious nature this one works well particularly if you are actually dieting and staying away from other holiday treats.

18. Mention that You are Taking Medication that Reacts Badly with Alcohol

This can be something as simple as allergy medication or painkillers. Almost any medication that makes you drowsy shouldn’t be taken with alcohol.

19. You are Already Dehydrated due to the Weather or an Earlier Work Out

Almost everyone knows that alcohol dehydrates you. Most people understand not wanting to make a hangover worse which is what drinking while dehydrated does.

20. Simply Say “I Don’t Drink,” and walk away

During the holiday season drinking is a part of the festivities. If you are in a 12 step program or considering alcohol rehab there is no reason why you have to admit this to random party goers. If you are among close nonjudgmental friends, you might want to tell the truth but if no one will blame you if you use one of these excuses to avoid drinking. For more information on how not to drink for the holidays or if you are considering a drug or alcohol treatment program call us at 1-800-895-1695.

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