Weary of explaining why you're not drinking? Whether you’re not drinking for Dry January (congrats you’re almost there!) or have been on the wagon for years, the questions and comments can something gnaw at you. Here are some of the go-to phrases I’ve curated from eight years of not drinking.
1. “I don't drink”. It is as simple as that. There will be a time when someone will pull out the middle-school-aged peer pressure phrase, “aw, come on live a little.” I usually reply with equal snark with, “if that means living I’m lived a lot more than you probably have, bro,” insert scoff and walk away.
2. “Eh, not tonight.” Honestly, you’re an adult, that phrase should be enough.
3. “I can’t.” These two words and the silence that follows can hold such power. Most people, when given this short phrase will be too shy to inquire as to why you can’t drink. They don’t know that it might be because of a medical condition (I’m looking at you UTI) or that you have a drinking problem and aren’t offering the back story. Most people quickly realize they’re not comfortable asking and leave it at that. Either way, easy exit.
4. “I’ve almost made it to the end of Dry January, I don’t want to mess up now!” With Dry January almost up who wants to be the asshole that ruins the streak for their friend. The key word there is ‘friend’.
5. “I’m the designated driver tonight.” I mean, it’s the truth. I don’t drink and therefore I am the soberest person at most gatherings. I realized my DD role early in my non-drinking career while going out on the town with my siblings. The simple statement from my little sister, “I mean, you're not drinking anyway so..?” solidified that role. After eight years, this is more than ok with me. I feel good getting my friends and family home safely without splitting an Uber four ways.
6. “I’m good, do you have any (insert non-alcoholic drink here)?” Any good host would happily accommodate this request. It also shows care to the host to ask decisively for a specific drink instead of leaving that decision up to the host. Hence why maybe people offer alcohol as a first option. That is unless you're at a frat party which in that case, you might be better off camouflaging your drink in the go-to red Solo cup.
7. “Thanks, I already have one.” Whether it’s a Diet Coke or the undercover seltzer and lime trick, this line isn’t a lie; you do already have a drink.
8. “I would but I don’t want to commit a felony.” This can be used when you're comfortable enough to share just how extreme it can get when you do drink. Towards the end of my drinking career, I wasn’t busted for any felonies but if I hadn’t laid off the sauce it would’ve been a matter of time.
9. “Me and alcohol don’t get along.” I’m not sure you can get any more obvious that you’re not drinking because you have a drinking problem. Be warned though that this can invite people to ask about your alcohol journey from inception, crash, and ultimately sobriety.
10. “No thanks, I’m an alcoholic.” Ok, I lied. Maybe you can get more explicit that you have a drinking problem in the first sentence. Like the previous line, this can invite questions about your drinking path and even a debate as to what exactly an alcoholic is.