What to Say When Others Ask Why You're Not Drinking

Ever wonder what your friends, colleagues, family will say if you tell them you’re not drinking?

You’re no fun anymore.

Why? Are you sick?

Come on! At least have one.

It seems like we have to have an excuse. I’ve used many.

“My stomach is bothering me.”

“I’m taking medication and I’m not supposed to drink.”

“I drank before I got here.”

“I’m still hungover from last night.”

Sometimes an excuse makes us feel more comfortable. We don’t want our friends to think we aren’t fun anymore. We don’t want our coworkers and colleagues to think we’re too uptight or can’t handle ourselves.

Why is it that we need to feel better about what we think others might think about us?

We’ve become such people pleasers that we need to have everyone else like us by thinking we are just like them in drinking.

I’ve had friends gave me a hard time when I ordered club soda. “Don’t make me drink alone,” they said.

Often no one paid attention or seemed to notice.

The more I did it the easier it got. Friends got used to me drinking less, and sometimes not at all. Family stopped asking and let me help myself to whatever I chose.

It turned out I was more worried about what everyone else thought, when I should have been worried about what I thought—of myself.

I stopped (mostly) drinking because I was tired to waking up at 1 am unable to sleep because my body was compensating for the wine I’d drank earlier. I was tired of being groggy and hungover half of my weekend when I worked so darn hard all week.

When I started paying more attention to what was important to me, and how I thought about myself, I started caring less about whether people judged me for how much I drank.

It feels good to know when I decide how much I will have, or not have, at an event or social occasion, I’ve got my own back and will stick to my plan. I learned to count on myself and in the process came to respect myself more.

And I got back my Saturday and Sunday mornings.

If you’d like to learn how to care more about what you think of yourself than others, or you’d simply like to cut back or stop drinking to get your weekend mornings back, apply to work with me.

Julie Ernst