Polite ways to pass on booze

The question that I dread the most and keeps me hiding out at home still is this one.  What to say when people ask you what you want to drink and when you ask for a non-alcoholic option and the questions then follow what’s your ‘go to’ response?

In some respects having young children has really helped me as I don’t have much of a social life!  When I’ve gone to parties I’ve taken alcohol free beer such as Becks Blue and that has avoided this question being asked but I would really like a killer line, ya know.  Witty, yet deflective and maintains boundaries, particularly mine in this instance!

One that they shared in the Almost Alcoholic book that I talked about before here which I really like is this one:

“Thanks, but I drank my whole life’s quota of alcohol by the time I was forty, so I’ll pass”

The person who used this was a nurse and she said that many people responded with a smile or a laugh and no one ever frowned or pressed her to take a drink.  I like that and may co-opt this for myself 🙂

The one that feels most comfortable for me right now is that ‘I don’t drink anymore because for me life is so much better without it’.

What’s worked for you when dodging booze that I could also try?

94 days to go

PS Completely unrelated but I just had to mention as a nurse and employee of the NHS that yesterday it was voted the best healthcare system in the world by an international panel of experts.  “The United Kingdom ranks first overall, scoring highest on quality, access and efficiency,” the fund’s researchers conclude in their 30-page report. Their findings amount to a huge endorsement of the health service, especially as it spends the second-lowest amount on healthcare among the 11 – just £2,008 per head, less than half the £5,017 in the US. Only New Zealand, with £1,876, spent less.  We don’t often get an opportunity to toot our horn and this is my blog so three cheers for the NHS!!! 🙂

20 thoughts on “Polite ways to pass on booze

  1. I have started saying, “no thanks, I don’t drink” which is short and sweet and leaves no room for argument. and if anyone asks why I say, “various reasons, nothing major”. which is giving them nothing to work with. or if it’s someone I’ve already told and they’ve forgotten, ‘no thanks, still on the wagon.’

    I like the ‘I’ve already had my share’ comment! and I wish I had the balls to say, like Robert Downey Jnr, “I’m allergic to drugs and alcohol – I break out in handcuffs.” 🙂

    yay for the NHS! 🙂

    1. Hey Prim Nice answer 🙂 And indeed yay for the NHS. Maligned too often and never praised enough, bit like this sober gig really! xx

  2. Thanks for this Lucy! Only on Day 5 so have yet to say it to anybody. I’ve been thinking of going with “I’m doing this self- discipline challenge – no booze for a 100 days” as recommended by Belle. Obviously that works to begin with. If (when!) this becomes long-term I like the idea of “I drank my while quota before I was forty – I’d like to leave some left over for the rest of you.” Primrose’s is great too. The rare occasion when “What Would Robert Downey Do?” Might help the recovering drinker. *

    And I’ll join you in a big “yay” for our fabulous NHS and all who sail in her.

    * facetious comment. I, of course, sincerely hope that Mr Downey Junior continues to have a strong and happy sobriety. Should he read this blog. Which he should.

    1. Hey Haggis Welcome and thank you for reading and commenting 🙂 Yay to 5 days!! Maybe when we’re clean and sober 10 years plus we can do a Robert Downey Jr (and dang he’s hot in that photo!!)

  3. If it’s people I don’t know I go for a simple, no thanks, or ask for something soft. Sometimes I’ve said, I don’t drink, and no-one yet has asked me why. With people who know me well, it’s tougher. At first I said, “I’m off the pop at the moment.” I would usually explain a bit more, along the lines of a “health kick” rather than have them assume I’m pregnant (only reason I have stopped in the past). Now I say, “I’ve quit!” in a slightly surprised, but cheerful and proud voice one uses when saying something like, “I’ve found a new job!” or “I’ve met someone new!” – inviting people to be happy and excited for me. Mixed reactions. A lot of people say things like “Oh, you’re very good” which annoys me, like I’m being all moral or superior or noble, which is not what it’s about at all. Often people talk about their own drinking and why they couldn’t possibly stop. Mostly they are very surprised. But it’s OK. No-one is unpleasant, no-one has asked intrusive questions, mostly people are either supportive or indifferent. I am getting braver about telling. Bit by bit.
    Also – can help if you have a loud four yr old who can chime in helpfully with the phrase, “Mummy doesn’t drink wine any more.” (I’ve been open at home, but couldn’t actually recall discussing it with her …)
    Hurrah for the NHS!!!! HURRAH! xx

    1. Hey MTM. So glad you’ve not met any negative responses and I like your ‘I’ve quit’ answer. Something to be proud of indeed but not in a ‘aren’t you good’ kind of way 😉 PS Our kids are great arent’ they! 🙂 xx

  4. The simpler the better – no thank you. If they ask again, I say no thank you. If they persist, I move on. The less I need to explain, the better, and frankly no one cares. As long as they have their booze or whatnot, they usually don’t care what’s in someone else’s cup. If I am feeling jaunty, I will tell them something similar to that quote – I tell them that if life was a party, I’ve already used up my drink tickets.

  5. I agree “The simpler the better” is the best route: no thank you. During my first attempt at quitting (over the holidays!), I used “none for me, thanks” and that worked. I do however love the “whole life’s quota” response, that describes me perfectly ;)…3 cheers indeed for the NHS, and for You!! 94 days to go! Day 22 here; feelin’ pretty danged good xx

    1. Hi lori 3 cheers for you on Day 22, ooh that rhymes! 😉 The whole life quota describes me perfectly too which is why I like it as it’s the truth xx

    1. True jill we don’t owe anyone an explanation – but why do I feel at times like I do?

      1. I’ve been thinking about that…I think that it is the people pleaser in us that feels the need to explain. The people please commonly feels ‘less than’ and seeks approval. For me, learning not to pp is an important part of recovery. I have to be happy with myself the way I am and with the choices I am making. If I try to be different for others it’s a short slide to a drink.

      2. Hi jill Really insightful reflections and I think that probably holds true for me too. All part of that ‘not good enough’ meme I have going in my head. Thank you 🙂

  6. For now I just tell people I’m getting rash after drinks. Yea it’s a lie but it works so well!

    1. Hi Ellen Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂 Nothing wrong with a small white lie!

  7. If you don’t want questions then I’m driving usually deflects everything.
    I’ve quit can encourage a slew of questions, which is fine if you are willing to discuss it, but not so good if it causes you stress.
    I love the quota one. I’ve used it before. Everyone laughs.

    1. Hi Anne Yep being the nominated driver is a guaranteed get out. Glad the quota one gets a warm reception – hearing that makes me braver about using it in the future 🙂

  8. My ideal response, when I have time to think about it, is to give a mysterious smile and say “because I’ve got lots of better things to do instead”

    great blog as always. Rx

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