Once a person has freed themselves of their alcoholism by entering recovery, life becomes more productive and fulfilling. A newly recovering alcoholic recognizes how positive their life is sober and is grateful. After some time in sobriety, there may be invitations from people to have a drink. Recovering alcoholics (especially in the early phases of sobriety) are recommended to only involve themselves with other recovering alcoholics because this is how recovering alcoholics get their much-needed support. However, many recovering people still have family members and friends that drink, and this is quite normal.
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What if You Get an Invitation to Drink?
There are tips for how to say “No” to an invitation to drink, even if the invitation includes the ever-famous phrase of “just have one.” For alcoholics, there is no such thing as just one. So how do alcoholics deal with these invitations or experiences? There are several great ways to decline the drinking invitation and how to avoid alcohol situations. First, it is important to acknowledge what the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggest.
“The first step is to become aware of the two different types of social pressure to drink alcohol—direct and indirect…Direct social pressure is when someone offers you a drink or an opportunity to drink. Indirect social pressure is when you feel tempted to drink just by being around others who are drinking—even if no one offers you a drink… for some situations, your best strategy may be avoiding them altogether… in the meantime, you can stay connected with friends by suggesting alternate activities that don’t involve drinking… When you know alcohol will be served, it’s important to have some resistance strategies lined up in advance… Have non-alcoholic drinks always in hand… Ask for support from others to cope with temptation, plan an escape if the temptation gets too great, ask others to refrain from pressuring you or drinking in your presence (this can be hard), and script your “no.” (NIAAA).
Say this One Sentence
The number one tip for how to decline drinking alcohol either with friends, family or others, is to develop the confidence to say, ‘I no longer drink.’ Family members will probably not ask anything more about it and offer another type of beverage. Friends who are unaware may ask why. This is the moment for providing a very uncomplicated response. By simply saying, “ I no longer like it (drinking) or enjoy it.” The reason alcoholics stop drinking is that it was no longer enjoyable. Ending up in jail, getting a DUI, or getting fired and even losing everything you own because of alcohol, definitely counts as not liking alcohol and definitely not enjoying it.
Stay Away from Alcohol Serving Places
The next useful tip for how to say no to a drink is to not go to where alcohol will be served. This may seem to limit some, but for the successful recovering alcoholic this means peace of mind. When there is alcohol in the room, even the most long-term recovering alcoholics will still be slightly uncomfortable. It is best to decline invitations to any event where alcohol is served. If this is truly unavoidable, such as a work dinner or party, or wedding, then order a nonalcoholic drink and say you are the designated driver. The respect that this gives a person also makes their response non-debatable.
Make Excuses to Avoid Going Out
Another way to say no to alcohol is to express concerns about drinking at that moment. Here a person can simply say they are not feeling well, or that they have a big day ahead that involves work or other important attendance. This is a way out of the offer but does not exactly help a person’s state of mind who is in recovery. People in recovery from alcoholism, try to remain honest at all times. Total honesty would, of course, be to say that you can’t drink because you are an alcoholic. Some people in new recovery feel best when they remain honest. For others, this may be difficult and that is totally acceptable. Therefore, express that the next day is full of obligations and that drinking is not an option.
No matter what the goal for all recovering alcoholics is never to drink again. If you or your loved one is struggling with their alcoholism, or not happy in their recovery from alcoholism and are tempted to drink, it is time to get professional help, Garden State Treatment Center has just that. The path that many alcoholics take towards recovery often includes going to treatment more than once. No two people are the same and recovering from alcoholism is a personal journey and there is help available for you or a loved now.