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How to say no to a drink

Any tips or advice to prevent a relapse, alternatively any of your stories about your own relapses.
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Lush
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How to say no to a drink

Post by Lush » 04 Nov 2008 23:54

I've noticed this keeps coming up again and again in various different threads, so thought perhaps it deserved a thread of its own just so it can be easily accessible for ideas.

How do you say no to a drink if you're abstaining or cutting down? There are only so many times you can use the 'I'm on antibiotics' excuse. Do you tell the truth or make something up? Personally if it's people I don't really know I just say 'no thanks, I don't like the taste' but it's different when it's family, or friends you've known for years who expect you to be the life and soul. Most of my family know about me but the majority of my friends don't. With the party season just around the corner it's going to get a bit dodgy isn't it? I can't use the 'I don't like the taste' on my friends, they just know that's not true! If I say 'oh I'm not drinking for a while' they'll demand to know why until I eventually give in and tell them, which I just don't want to do.

Why is it that as problem drinkers we have major issues with trying to come up with excuses to people as to why we don't want a drink? 'Normal' drinkers don't seem to have this problem. So basically I thought a thread with excuses might be just the job what with Christmas just around the corner.

Susie
xx
Last edited by Bela on 27 Dec 2009 13:23, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: slight change in subject header
"I love the English language, it has a certain je ne sais qoi".

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Bupster » 05 Nov 2008 00:06

I've posted several times in various threads that I find it easiest to keep it simple and to tell the truth - "I'm not drinking" generally does the trick, followed if necessary by "I'm just knocking it on the head for a bit". Sometimes: "I've been overdoing it, so I thought it was time for a break". It leaves it open-ended as well so you don't have to go through all the palaver about whether you've stopped for good.

I quite understand that people do feel really uncomfortable and defensive when they first stop drinking though, and excuses might well be useful especially at this time of year. Good call for a thread, Susie.
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Kitty » 05 Nov 2008 00:09

Hi Susie,
I don't worry about all that anymore, but i suppose that I am quite a long way on with sobriety.
I remember hearing Jonathon Ross say once, I think it was on his show that he didn't drink because his life is better without it. I say that to people, and I have only ever had one person question me further, i felt a bit uncomfortable at first, because he was asking why and so on and then he asked how much I used to drink, so i just told him straight and that shut him up. I actually did not take offence and actually felt quite empowered by it despite my initial discomfort.

Very good friends know about my problem, so no worries there and friends I've never discussed it with guess why i dont drink anymore because they saw me when I was drinking.

It did make me squirm a bit at first though, actually a lot. But for me sobriety has been a whole run of doing things for the first time without a drink and so saying to someone 'I don't drink' was easier after the first time and just got easier as i went along. Actually I find most people are impressed by it, especially if we are having an evening in the pub.

I went on my sister's hen weekend in Spain and confided to a mutual friend that I was worried that my sister thought i was being boring or a party-pooper for not drinking. I confided in that particular friend because i knew she couldn't keep her mouth shut. True to form she went straight and told my sister and then reported back to me that my sister had said 'No, it's fine Kitty's much nicer when she's not drinking' Says it all really.

Kitty X
"Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what's more than enough" Billie Holiday

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Lush » 06 Nov 2008 11:01

When I went to my uncle's wedding a few weeks ago I will admit that there were some very uncomfortable moments. My close family knew I wasn't drinking although at that time I still hadn't given them a particular reason other than to say 'I'm not drinking'. Other friends and more distant relations kept looking at me like I was ill when I kept refusing a drink, and then when I didn't go to the 'do' on the night I'm sure the rumour-mill went into overdrive. Looking back now at my behaviour I actually was ill because that was 2 days before my monumental crash into depression. I just didn't realise it at the time, and luckily I had the 'bad back/painkillers' as an excuse. I still feel, especially with the party season looming, that I need some sort of excuse to explain why I'm not drinking. If I say I can't drink because of my meds they'll want to know what meds and then I'll have to explain about the bipolar disorder. If I say I don't want to drink they'll think I've gone mad anyway! If I say I've gone off it they'll think I'm pregnant. I've always been 'the big drinker' in the family and it will be as big a shock to them as it will be to me not to be drinking this Christmas and New Year. If it wasn't sort of expected of me then I wouldn't have such a problem trying to think of explanations.

I'm kind of running through it in my mind:

Them: "What are you having?"
Me: "I'm not drinking at the moment"
Them: "Oh go on, it's Christmas"
Me: "No, I don't want one"
Them: "You're ill. What's the matter?"
Me: "No, I'm not ill, I just don't want to drink"
Them: "You always drink. You must be ill"
Me: "Ok I'm an alcoholic. Happy now?"

Cue stunned silence and tumbleweed moment. Image

Susie
xx
"I love the English language, it has a certain je ne sais qoi".

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Bupster » 06 Nov 2008 11:51

Yes, I do know what you mean - my landlord was a bugger last night when I popped into my local. In the end I told him I hadn't had anything to eat yet, and then ordered a mineral water. Once he worked out it had a bigger markup than booze and I wasn't just taking up space he was quite happy. :D Susie, perhaps you can say you're on painkillers for your thumb and you can't mix them with drink or you'll go mad? That way you've covered all the bases, and got them scared? :D
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by mako27 » 06 Nov 2008 19:18

Hi everyone

Darcy, I completely agree with you that some drinkers feel uncomfortable if we dont drink with them. I know this because I was one of those annoying people, always saying "come on!...don't be boring and let your hair down". I had that attitude because a) I just found it plain weird that anyone wouldn't want to drink? b) I didn't believe I could have fun without a drink and c) I didn't want anyone telling me i'd had enough or worse, reporting my behaviour back to me the following day!!! :oops:

With regards to saying no to a drink, it won't bother me much at all. This is only because I've spent most of my life worrying what people think about me and with the help of much therapy (group and individual) I've become a lot more self assured and confident in my choices thank god (because i did go quite mad with worry at times). Anyway, I'm on anti-depressants and probably always will be, which is absolutely fine with me so I just say i'm on medication and if they ask what i say....."anti-depressants" :lol: and they don't normally delve much further and either give a little look of pity or sidle away quietly he he either way, i don't mind cos at least I'M NOT DRUNK!!!! :D

I do understand that not everyone is comfortable with saying that of course, so this thread will be really useful for those needing other ideas for these situations. The upshot is no matter which way you say it....the main thing is that you do ;)

Maisyxx

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by mako27 » 06 Nov 2008 19:50

Hi Darcy

I'm with you on that....if it works for you then that's all that matters! :D

I still have those 'paranoid' moments too, but so much better than they used to be (could also be age that's helped too?) and like you, I have to challenge why i think what i think and because that gets too draining too, I end going of sod it, who cares? who are these people anyway? :lol: (cos they usually are strangers to me!)

Besides, we have enough to deal with staying on this constantly moving wagon don't we? and the least we can do is be good to ourselves and start to believe that we really are likeable and worthy chicks ;)

Well done so far btw :D

Maisyxx

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by sue » 06 Nov 2008 22:46

I haven't been faced with the situation of refusing alcohol yet but a few weeks ago I had to go to the docs for a routine BP check (am on BP medication). Despite the medication my BP was still raised and the doc asked me If I drank alcohol regularly. How did she know? I sort of played it down a bit but think she guessed I had a problem. Anyway she told me not to drink so when faced with the situation of having to justify the reason for not drinking I will just say I cant for now because it raises my blood pressure and have been advised not to.
Sue xx

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by henryporter » 07 Nov 2008 19:35

Kitty wrote:Hi Susie,

I remember hearing Jonathon Ross say once, I think it was on his show that he didn't drink because his life is better without it.
Kitty X
Thats a great line. Its true and just implies a positive choice without divulging any 'problems'

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Lush » 07 Nov 2008 23:14

henryporter wrote:
Kitty wrote:Hi Susie,

I remember hearing Jonathon Ross say once, I think it was on his show that he didn't drink because his life is better without it.
Kitty X
Thats a great line. Its true and just implies a positive choice without divulging any 'problems'
This is a very flippant thing to say, but his life's a bit shit at the moment isn't it?! :mrgreen:
Seriously though, it's was a good thing to say, but if I said something like that to family and friends it is just so not 'me' to be saying something like that, they'd immediately guess I have a drink problem, or they'd question me further on what I meant. I think I'll just stick to the old 'I'm on medication' story for now. I don't know, it's a bit of a double whammy for them to take in the fact that I'm an alcoholic with bipolar disorder. Or that I have bipolar disorder and a problem with alcohol. I don't know which one they'd find easier to cope with, probably the bipolar. The number of people I've heard who think alcoholism is self-inflicted is outrageous and I'm sad to say there are a few of my friends and family who think like that. Slightly less stigma attached to being nuts maybe. :lol:

Susie
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"I love the English language, it has a certain je ne sais qoi".

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Kitty » 08 Nov 2008 11:38

Hi Susie,
You know sometimes I think we can wind ourselves up about these things. The Ross line wasn't 'me' at one time either. If you want this as a long term goal (which I think you do) then the i'm on medication line cannot suffice for too long - you may actually worry them more.
I have exteme issues with discomfort over being honest about my feelings with my family and friends, so I think I know where you're coming from. You could find yourself surprised at how liberating the truth can be. The Ross line is the truth (we know it varies so much for all of us that i think it captures perfectly any scale of alcohol problem), but it also leaves no room for questioning really. I mean, if you said 'look, i have an alcohol problem' then people can say - 'oh no you don't, course not, you only drink like everyone else'.
If you say My life is better without it, who the hell can question that? It's not debatable.

love, Kitty X
"Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what's more than enough" Billie Holiday

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by hamster » 08 Nov 2008 11:51

k98 wrote:This is tricky thing for myself also. I often wondered if my friends would quit inviting me over for not drinking. I've seen a lot of that happen to people who quit. I get the oh come on and have just one. Well we all know where one leads us to. When I manage to fend them off they all assume I'm pregnant. Because otherwise obviously I would be drinking if I wasn't. Well we'll wait around for 9 months and see who feels a little bit silly then. Isn't it interseting that we are the ones that feel uncomfortable saying no thanks to that drink when people should be respecting our choice?
Hi K22 - Love your new avatar. So true for me :oops: :lol:

Susie - your little image of sad smilie with tumble weed made me giggle for ages - so perfect for that post - and so true. I have been there.
AF2011 number 10

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Bupster » 08 Nov 2008 15:39

Do you think the problem might be that we're all looking for a bit of wiggle room in what we say? That if we say "I don't drink any more" we're going to look right twats if we change our minds later, but at the same time we're looking for something to say that's absolutely unassailable right now?

I'm just asking because I know I found it easy when it was for a set length of time - explaining that you're off the drink for a few weeks for diet, or health, or just that you've been overdoing it is fine, and nobody pushes you. But explaining that you're off the drink for a non-specific length of time for a non-specific reason is of course not only difficult but makes us look like we're being evasive, which attracts more questions. "I don't drink any more, I've given it up" is unassailable, as is "I've been overdoing it, I've knocked it on the head for a while", but "I'm not drinking tonight" without any explanation seems like scattering shark bait in the water.

I think maybe the problem is that in the early days at least it's still a private struggle, and really difficult to make a public statement when somewhere inside you're not completely sure whether it'll be the same tomorrow. Or am I talking out of my backside?
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Mike » 12 Nov 2008 12:56

I know exactly how to deal with this one for myself. I always order my own drink and then no one need question my decision. I plan ahead according to the event or venue. If I am going sonewhere I know non alcoholic beer is sold, I will drink that. Otherwise I used to drink diet coke or orange juice and soda, but since I have knocked caffeine on the head I stick to orange juice. I can't drink grapefruit juice because I take statins.

Sometimes if I am going to a party I take a six pack of non alcoholic beers. I do the same on a day's shooting. I carry sachets of decaff coffee to work in my briefcase. I get through about ten a week.

Last Sunday I went for lunch at a restaurant with my wife and an elderly couple who are relatives. I ordered the drinks for the table including my own choice of orange juice and soda. The waiter condescendingly remarked, "Ah, the driver." I felt like saying, "No you prat, I'm a recovering alcoholic", but it was easier for everyone for me to keep quiet.

Mike

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Gracie » 12 Nov 2008 13:37

Hi all,

I've got an occasion coming up and i'm seriously thinking it will be easier not to go. A friend who I used to work and drink with has moved away and she wants to organise a 'girls weekend'. This isn't local so we'll all have to stay at hers or a hotel. I was always the 'big' drinker of the group, but I haven't been on a night out with them for over a year, i'm not sure if they realise what a big problem it is for me. ( especially as i used to be two of the girls manager).

I can't use the driving excuse,and because it was a very large company ( an airline) I don't really want to go into the truth as we have so many mutal friends. I really want to go even though i won't drink, but the hassle of what to tell people makes me think 'is it worth the bother?'

Love gracie x

P.s Christmas and New Year doesn't even bear thinking about yet, i'm out to Spain for 3 weeks with a large group of my family and fairly big drinking friends!

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Mike » 12 Nov 2008 15:00

Hi Gracie,

I know how you feel. I used to be the champion drinker at any conference, away day for the boys, rugby tour, you name it. I could drink anyone under the table, and still not have a hangover the next day. I was proud of my superhuman boozing capacity. Idiotic behaviour.

Now I am the non-drinker of the party. They are so used to giving me lifts, I seldom drive. When I offer to do the driving at the end of the evening, the half cut driver insists on getting behind the wheel of his car and driving me home. I have changed, but why should I expect them to change ?

I would go on your girls weekend but make it clear to everyone you don't drink. You will still have fun. Life doesn't stop just because you have stopped drinking.

Mike

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Lush » 12 Nov 2008 15:02

Mike I sincerely hope you're not getting in a car with a driver who's half cut??? :o

Susie
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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Mike » 12 Nov 2008 15:25

I'm afraid that on occasions I do. But I probably always did. The only difference is that now I am completely aware of reality at all times. I offer to drive, at the start of the evening my offer is accepted, but after a few drinks everyone else always knows best. I am out numbered, who am I to argue ?

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Lush » 12 Nov 2008 15:34

My dad was killed by a drunk driver. It will be his anniversary on 20th December, I was almost four years old when it happened.

Susie
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"I love the English language, it has a certain je ne sais qoi".

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Re: How to say no to a drink?

Post by Mike » 12 Nov 2008 16:20

How am I supposed to answer that ? I am very sorry you suffered such an apalling family tragedy, and of course driving over the limit can never be condoned. I think it happens less and less these days amongst responsible people, but it happens, and this year during the Christmas police road side checks, more offenders will be caught out.

I am grateful that I can drive at any time of the day or night without the fear of being stopped and prosecuted for excess alcohol.

Mike

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