Recovery can leave you feeling happy and confident in who you are and what you want your life to be. However, it can also leave you in awkward situations that you must learn to cope with if you wish for your sobriety to continue progressing. One such condition is knowing how to decline a drink when others are pressuring you to consume alcohol. This is a common dilemma that many recovering individuals find themselves in, and how you respond to the situation will set you up for long-term recovery. 

Short and Sweet

The best way to respond to someone offering you a drink is to have a short but firm statement prepared. Understandably, you might have some anxiety about these situations, but the reality is that most people will accept your refusal and move on without pressuring you to drink. Having a pre-prepared statement that is short and firm will often do the job. Consider saying:

  • “No, thank you, I don’t drink.”
  • “No thanks, I don’t want to.”
  • “Thank you, but I’m good right now.”
Ask for a Non-Alcoholic Option

Asking for a non-alcoholic option is an excellent way to control urges at social events where alcohol may be served. Having a non-alcoholic drink in your hand will keep your hands busy and make you less likely to accept an alcoholic beverage from someone else. You can ask for a non-alcoholic drink at the start of the event, or if someone offers you a drink, request one without alcohol.

Repeat Yourself

If someone is persistent in offering you a drink, don’t be afraid to continually say “no.” You do not have to cave just because they continually pressure you to drink. Repeat yourself and stand firm behind your decision.

Have an Escape Plan

Before the event, have an escape plan that another friend knows about so you can leave when you are feeling uncomfortable. Remember that you do not owe anyone a drink just because they are persistent. If they cannot accept your “no” as an answer, they don’t deserve your company. Consider having a code word or signal to alert your friend that it is time to go.


An essential part of recovery is learning how to refuse drinks even when you may feel the urge to say “yes.” Social events where alcohol is served may not be the best idea for those in early recovery, but there may come a time you find yourself in the presence of alcohol, and it is best to be prepared. Having a pre-prepared statement when someone offers you a drink is the best way to ensure you are ready to decline. If you are continually pressured, don’t be afraid to be firm and repeat yourself. You can also ask for a non-alcoholic drink to keep your hands busy and keep you from relapsing. If all else fails, have an escape plan and leave as soon as you feel uncomfortable. At Alta Loma, we understand the difficulties that society can bring into recovery. Don’t be afraid to stand firm in your convictions and fight for your sobriety. For more information, call us today at (866) 457-3843.