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How To Disclose That You Don’t Drink

How To Disclose That You Don’t Drink
Oct 20,2021 Author: Ilana Jael

If you have recently gotten sober, the gradual return to normal life after the chaos of the pandemic, the Halloween season, and the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons on the horizon after that may some of your first brushes with disclosing your sobriety at parties and other events where alcohol consumption is usually part of the game plan. 

First off, it’s totally normal for you to be worried about telling people you are in recovery, and so if you think it will make you more comfortable, you could simply offer a half truth instead of giving them the whole story. For instance, saying you are not drinking:

  • For “health reasons” 
  • Because you do not like how alcohol makes you feel
  • Because it doesn’t mix well with your medications
  • Because you’re feeling a little under the weather
  • Because drinking just isn’t your thing
  • Because you have to get up early the next morning
  • Because you are serving as a designated driver 
  • Because you are trying to cut down on calories

All may very well be true, if not primary, reasons you have for not drinking on any given occasion, so they could provide a reasonable enough cover story to someone you don’t know very well if you don’t feel like going deeper into it right away. Especially to someone who is only a casual acquaintance, how much you want to reveal about your past struggles with addiction is totally up to you, and your sobriety is none of their business! 

If you don’t want people to approach you about the matter, you could also try carrying around a cup of water or your favorite soft drink, so that other people may assume you are drinking and just not bother you about it as opposed to offering to grab you a drink. That way, you could then brush someone who asks if you want a drink off with an “oh, I have one,” or “I just finished one” without it being a lie since “alcoholic” drink may not be stated even if it was assumed. 

You could also try just brushing any unwanted inquiries off with a joke or quickly change the subject. But there’s no reason you have to resort to these mildly deceptive responses either. Being in recovery is something to be proud of, not something you should feel the need to hide, and it puts you in the company of a number of prominent celebrities as well as a whole ten percent of the population

So, feel free to just be straight up. In doing so, you’re setting a positive example for others to be open about their recoveries as well or to make changes in their relationships with substances in their own lives. You may even make an unexpected connection with someone else who has struggled with addiction in the past or who has their own mental health struggles. 

Hopefully, the people you do reveal your true reasons for not drinking to are supportive, or at least not too bothered by the matter, but the truth is that it is possible you will receive negative reactions as well, especially from friends or family members who drink a lot themselves and/or who formerly served as your “drinking buddies.” 

If you do get any negative pushback, just remember that their attitude likely stems from their own insecurity and should in no way threaten your resolve or confidence in recovery. Someone who is not understanding of your need to live a healthier lifestyle is revealing their true colors, and you should take a negative attitude towards your sobriety as a sign that this person is not a true friend at all and probably not someone you want to spend a lot of your time with. 

To make yourself more comfortable at a social gathering, or if you are worried about being tempted by a festive, alcohol laden atmosphere, try bringing along a sober buddy or enlisting another trusted friend to keep you on track. 

There’s also no shame in just skipping a party or event if you know that being around alcohol or potentially intoxicated people will be difficult for you. Parties and people will come and go, but your recovery is a lifelong commitment that should always should come first. 

Kick Start Your Sobriety At The Reco Institute


Staying sober is no easy task no matter the season, and sometimes it takes a little outside help or a change in your circumstances to get you back on the right track. To learn more about how Reco Institute, our top of the line sober living program, and our associated intensive outpatient rehab program can help you make your way through recovery, feel free to call us anytime at 561-665-5925 or to contact us online here.

Categories:  Addiction,