5 ways to gracefully decline a drink without feeling like a buzzkill

5 ways to gracefully decline a drink without feeling like a buzzkill

Taking on the sober journey is never easy, but nothing worth having comes easy, especially regarding our mental and physical health. At the same time, sobriety doesn’t mean sacrificing social events and special occasions. No one likes to experience #FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). 

In the beginning, not drinking alcohol can feel like a social faux pas. That’s why we’re here to teach you the art of gracefully saying no when declining an alcoholic beverage without feeling like a buzzkill. Instead, we want you to feel confident and empowered with your decision to live without alcohol. 

1. Opt for a mocktail

You don’t have to wear a scarlet letter for everyone to know you don’t drink. Ease into saying no to alcohol by asking for an alternative instead. Something like, “I’ll take a virgin pina colada.” These days there’s a non-alcoholic alternative to almost every popular drink on the bar menu. For example, virgin margaritas, alcohol-free prosecco, moscow mule sans liquor, and even alcohol-free beer. Or maybe the sugary mocktails aren’t your thing, and that’s ok too. There’s nothing wrong with a seltzer over ice garnished with fresh lime.

If you’re brave enough, leave it to the bartender to prepare their best alcohol-free beverage and put it in someone else’s hands. Sometimes it’s hard to tell someone no, but asking for an alternative feels more graceful and gives you a chance to try something new. 

2. Step into your DD role

Explain that you are the designated driver for the night. No one wants to be responsible for over-serving the DD for legal reasons. This is a polite way to decline a drink without explaining yourself. Many bars and restaurants offer complimentary fountain drinks or water, especially for designated drivers, as this role should not be taken lightly. 

3. Be direct and honest 

There is no shame in the sober game! Stand firm and be confident in your decision when declining alcohol. A simple “no thanks” with a kind smile will go a long way. It’s common for others to misconstrue your grace for softness or passiveness. That’s why you must remain confident in your decision and be prepared to be met with others’ unsolicited advice or opinions.

Perhaps you decide to share a few benefits you’ve experienced from refraining from alcohol. You might inspire someone around you to do the same. You can choose to share your reason why or keep that to yourself. But, whatever you do, do it with confidence and know that you are backed by a strong community of other sober women. 

4. Use humor

Sobriety is no joke, nor is it something to laugh about. If someone offers you a drink, it’s okay to make light of the situation and say something funny like, “no thanks, I’m training for a marathon and refraining from drinking,” or “I’m saving my liver for my old age when I’ll really need it. Humor can break the ice and be a conversation starter to meet new people in social situations. 

5. BYOB; bring your own beverage

If you’re a guest at someone’s home, you can be prepared by bringing your own drink. This way, when the host offers you alcohol, you can politely decline by saying you brought your own beverage. This could be an all-natural elixir or your favorite sparkling water. 

The internet is filled with creative drinks that don’t include alcohol. In fact, there is a vast emerging market for alcohol-free spirits and beer that are still delightful on the palate. Either way, staying prepared is a positive method to succeed in sobriety and still partaking in social events. 

A note on new found confidence in sobriety

Declining alcohol doesn’t have to be weird or uncomfortable. It’s also important to note that you may be met with scathing or unasked-for criticism from others regarding your decision. Confidence and composure allow you to stay genuinely graceful regardless of the ignorant comments people may offer. 

You’ll also gain confidence as you navigate social situations without a drink. You’ll find that your conversations feel much more meaningful, and you’ll never question what happened the night before. You’ll even spare yourself the social anxiety of wondering if you overshared details of your personal life due to liquid courage. 

Wherever you are in your journey, know that you are never alone. Thankfully with a community of other women going through the same journey, we understand that sometimes saying no to a drink can feel overwhelming with guilt or shame. But, like anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. 

Written by Miriah Macias

Miriah is a supermom and wife who’s all about sober living and spreading the joy of the teetotaler life. She’s on a mission to bring resources to all the party people out there who want to ditch the booze and still have a blast. Miriah knows that community is everything when it comes to staying sober, and she’s a big fan of cheering on the benefits of the booze-free lifestyle. Check out her awesome contributions to Addiction Treatment Magazine, and get ready to embrace your inner sober rockstar!

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