10 ways to politely say no to holiday cocktails

If you are in a 12 step program around the holiday season you certainly will be tempted by the sheer amount of drinking that goes on during the holidays. Although the best way to avoid drinking is to go to sober only parties, this is not always possible. Company parties and family gathering will almost always have some form of cocktail or drink. Although you might think that just one won’t hurt, just one can lead back into the pattern of alcoholism you’ve tried so hard to stop.

Despite your desire to remain sober, you still have to at least be polite when offered a drink. Here are ten ways to do this.

1. No Thank You

This is the easiest way to say no, unfortunately it does not always work. It invites pressure.

2. No Thank You I do Not Drink

Unfortunately, this also invites pressure from others to either explain why you do not drink or why you do not want to drink.

3. No Thank You, I am Driving

If you're driving you won't be pressured to drink.

If you’re driving you won’t be pressured to drink.

This one works very well if you are not at your own party. You might be pressured for just one drink after this statement but a simple refusal after that should take care of things in polite company. In less polite company or very close friends you are used to drinking with this excuse might not be quite enough.

4. No Thank You, I Already Have One

This excuse only works if you have a glass in your hand. Remember no one needs to know what the glass in your hand has in it, just that you have a glass in your hand.

5. No Thank You, I Don’t Feel Like Drinking Tonight

Remember there is no reason why you need to drink, even at a holiday party. You can toast with water just as well as you can with wine or another beverage. Although it is easier when you have something to toast with in your hand, what is in the glass is totally up to you.

6. No Thank You I am Designated Driver

This is always a good one even if you are in your own home. Due to the National Traffic and Highways Safety Administration, more and more people are taking keys during holiday parties and driving those who need a ride home after the event. This one does not need an explanation other than you plan to drive people home.

7. No Thank You, I am not Drinking Tonight

This one implies that you will be drinking some other night. You do not have to explain why you are not drinking tonight but there might be follow-up questions such as why you are not drinking this evening. Whether you explain that you have a problem with alcohol or not is your choice. You can simply say you don’t feel like it, polite people will leave it at that.

8. No Thank you, I am at my limit

You do not have to explain that your limit is none. Usually when you mention you have had enough to drink, most people will back off.

9. No Thank You I Do Not Drink Anymore

From here, you can take the time to explain why you do not drink anymore or you can simply leave it at that. If you feel particularly uncomfortable or the need to explain you can mention it is bad for your health or something to that effect.

10. No Thank You I have a Problem with Alcohol

This is the most honest and many people will leave you alone at this point. You can mention that you are participating in a 12 step program or you can just say that drinking doesn’t agree with you anymore. Many people will understand and those that press can easily be distracted or shut down by a full explanation of the program.

It is important to understand that you have the right not to drink and you also have the right to refuse to explain why you are not drinking. Being polite is sometimes the key to keeping the questions at a minimum. You can simply say that you do not want to drink and that should be enough. If you have decided to stop drinking on your own or join a rehab or 12 step program we can help. Give us a call at 1-800-895-1695.

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