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Ways to Say I’m Not Drinking

two whisky glasses clinking

If you’re not drinking alcohol this Christmas and New Year, then you might be asked why from a well-meaning relative or friend that has already had one or two. Whatever your reason for not drinking, here are some ways to answer those questions and move on from the topic of drinking or not drinking, so you can have an enjoyable time. 

Before we get into this, it is important to know that your reasons for not drinking do not have to be shared, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why you’re not drinking this Christmas. You can say no to alcohol and leave it at that, but we also know that sometimes this conversation crops up, and we want you to be prepared on how you can respond.

Set your boundaries from the offset

From where you’re going to who you’re going with, along with how long you plan to stay. Having a plan in place will help you navigate conversations that arise, and so will having boundaries. Boundaries might involve having a time frame of when you want to leave, it might be after an hour, or maybe when you know others will be looking to extend the party elsewhere. Your boundaries are yours to decide, so think about what your limits are and how you want to handle the event.

Know what you’re comfortable talking about

Following on from that, think about what conversations you would be comfortable having. It might be that you’re ready and eager to talk about your experience with others, in which case you can be open and transparent about why you’re not drinking. If you’re not quite there yet, which is more than okay, think about how much you’re willing to say and share, which will then help you navigate those conversations and questions about why you’re not drinking.

Have some responses in your back pocket

From a detailed response to a quick ‘it’s none of your business!’ have some responses lined up that you’re ready to roll with. They will be different for everyone and will change depending on who you’re spending time with, but they will make you feel more confident in having those conversations head on. 

Spend time with the right kind of people

Who are you spending your time with, and are they the sort of people who will push you to either drink or answer uncomfortable questions? With the latter, it is often a case of curiosity and because drinking alcohol has somehow become a social norm, but in reality they may not mean any harm. Think about your plans and who you’re spending time with, and make sure you’re around people with the right intentions.

sober living word on green road sign with sunset in background

There are some quick one liners you can give for why you’re not drinking, such as trying to go sober, making healthier choices or not wanting a hangover in the morning, but how much you share of why you’re not drinking is totally up to you. 

For some, you may want to open up the conversation about addiction and recovery, knowing that you have a platform to speak and that your voice will be heard. However, that isn’t always the case and even though we champion being honest and open, we know that sometimes you have to pick your battles and you might not have the energy or capacity for that conversation. You choose what works for you.

If you’re looking for support with alcohol addiction, then you can speak to Help Me Stop. We offer non-residential rehab programmes for those looking for addiction treatment, and we have centres in London, Winchester, and an online programme too. 

Our rehab is intensive Dayhab, meaning that our clients join regular sessions with us, and then go home or log off in between, continuing with their everyday life until the next session. Non-residential means that this type of rehab is more accessible than traditional rehab models, where you are required to stay on site.

We treat and see clients from all walks of life and at different stages of their journey. Our treatment programme centres around integrative psychotherapy, which blends a number of evidence-based therapies, including the 12 step approach to addiction treatment, person-centred therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, family therapy, art therapy, recovery workshops, mindfulness, and more. We work mainly in group sessions, and every client also has a one-to-one counselling session each week with their focal counsellor. 
If you would like to speak to someone, we are here to listen without judgement. You can get in touch for a confidential chat on 0208 191 9191 or you can email us on

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