It’s a first date, or you have to go to a holiday party for work. Maybe it’s a high school reunion, or you’re simply out to dinner with new friends. You can say no to alcohol or drugs without embarrassment, provided you’re prepared with well-practiced responses and a prearranged escape plan.
If You’re Still Using
Worrying about how to say no to alcohol or wondering how to tell someone you’re an addict is an essential first step toward getting better — and staying sober. By acknowledging your problem, you’ve already overcome denial — what many consider the biggest hurdle to getting sober.
Start a conversation with a trusted friend, family member, or colleague when you are sober — or at least calm. Avoid choosing someone who also abuses alcohol or drugs.
Say something such as, “I abuse alcohol and/or drugs, and I haven’t been able to quit by myself. I think I need help because I am an addict.” If the person you are speaking with doesn’t believe you or won’t help, call Clarity Way. We can help you decide whether or not you need treatment.
After Sobriety: Keeping It Simple for First Impressions
Telling someone you’re an alcoholic or drug addict can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t know the person you’re talking to that well. You don’t have to share the details of your addiction, and you definitely should not accept a drink or take drugs just to avoid embarrassment.
Instead, practice telling the truth in a low-profile, low-stress way. Try practicing short and straightforward responses, such as “Thanks for the offer, but I just don’t feel good after I drink, even in small amounts.” You can also try, “No, thanks. I’m working on improving my health right now, and I just can’t drink or use drugs.”
Sharing — When the Time is Right
As time passes, and you get to know your new friends better, you may become comfortable enough to talk about your past. Be honest and stay calm. Choose a time when you can speak privately and without interruption. Although you don’t have to share every last detail of your past, you could say something similar to: “I don’t drink or do drugs because I am recovering from addiction,” or “In the past, I spent time in rehab for addiction.”
You may be surprised to discover that your new friend has experience with addiction — whether his or her own struggles or that of a loved one. Millions of Americans and their family members deal with substance abuse problems every day. Be honest and clear — and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you think you are in danger of relapse. A real friend will help you stay sober.