8 Ways to Turn Down Alcohol If You’re Not Drinking

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Recent statistics show that about 23 million people in the US are living with alcohol addiction. Indeed, at least 2.3 million people have sought addiction help over the past year.

It’s a good and bad outlook at the same time, depending on how you look at it. Regardless, it’s encouraging that some people are taking the necessary steps to quit drinking. Of course, many others are trying different methods to quit alcohol from home.

The biggest challenge you’ll face when trying to quit is pressure from your social circle. As a former drinker, most of your friends likely drink too. So how do you keep the friendship going without backsliding? How do turn down alcohol when offered one?

Proven Tips to turn down alcohol

The following are eight proven ways to say no to alcohol when hanging out with friends, loved ones, or even at work events;

1. Be confident in your sobriety 

The best solution is to stand firm and let everyone know you don’t drink anymore. If someone offers a glass of beer, say, “No, thank you,” and if someone asks why, say, “I’m in recovery. I want to stop drinking.” A few people may still ask a few questions. But, they’ll already know your position and are more likely to ask questions such as “Why, what’s wrong?” than nag you to drink.

2. Bring a supportive friend 

Unfortunately, option #1 above is also the most difficult. Watching your friends have fun and enjoy their drinks can tempt you to join the party. You can put a wedge between you and any temptations by bringing along a supportive friend who can explain your situation so the others can understand you better. Ideally, bring a friend who doesn’t drink and who understands the dangers of alcohol abuse.

3. Offer to drive the rest home

Your friends and colleagues are less likely to ask you to drink when they know you’ll be the one behind the wheels after the party. The great thing about offering to be the driver is that you’re also doing a good deed by ensuring everyone gets home safely. Some restaurants and bars even have non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers.

4. Prepare a few excuses in advance

If everyone else in your social circle is drinking, you need a good reason not to join them. It doesn’t have to be true. You’re allowed to lie. However, you can also give a technically true reason. Excuses that work almost all the time include, “I have a class in the morning” and “I’m feeling a little hung-over from yesternight. Maybe some other time.” You can also say that you’re on antibiotics or some other medication that strictly prohibits drinking.

5. Bring a non-alcoholic drink 

The trick is to have one in your hand, so others don’t have to offer you “something to drink.” It works like a charm. Studies show that friends and colleagues are less likely to offer you something to drink when you’re holding another drink in your hand. They are also less likely to ask questions such as, “Why aren’t you drinking?” than when you’re not drinking anything at all.

6. Make an effort to mingle 

Your friends are more likely to bother with questions about alcohol and drinking if they feel you’re lonely and not in the mood for the party. So, what do you do to avoid their questions and alcohol offers? Be the life of the party without drinking. Mingle, dance, and socialize with everyone at the event without drinking. Most people will even think you’re drunk.

7. Change the environment 

If one group keeps bugging you to drink, you’re allowed to hang out with a different group. “Group” in this context may mean one person or an assembly of people. Excuse yourself and hang out with the next friend. You don’t necessarily have to leave the party. Just look across the room, identify another friend or group of friends and join them. If you can find another person in the room who’s trying to avoid alcohol, you may be able to back each other.

8. Know when to leave 

Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t end the way you’d want. In some scenarios, the best excuses don’t work, and even an honest answer isn’t enough. It’s also possible for everyone in the room to gang up against you and attempt to force you to drink. Remember that you’re allowed to leave. Don’t make a scene. Just pick up your things and walk out.


In the end, it’s about how badly you want to quit alcohol. If you’ve made up your mind never to drink again, you’ll find a way to decline the offer.

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