Sometimes the greatest line of defense against drugs and alcohol is having the self-confidence to say “no.” It’s such an obvious maneuver that it almost seems cliché to address. However, for some people, the idea of saying no is a battle of peer pressure and personal strife. In order to address these concerns, we’ve outlined a list of tips and tricks to help navigate the challenging social and personal obstacles of abstinence.

Four ways to say no to alcohol consumption

1. Clear and concise no

It pays to be succinct. If you’re looking for a clear and effective way to say “no” to alcohol, try and be as straightforward as possible. Stay calm and state your purpose with conviction.

Getting straight to the point will tell other people around you that you have made up your mind. This should eliminate some of the prying and peer pressure that sometimes accompany a refusal to engage. You might try and say something like:

  • “No, thanks. I’m driving.”
  • “I’m not drinking today.”
  • “I’d rather be alert.”
  • “I have to be up early tomorrow.”
  • “I prefer to drink (some non-alcoholic beverage).”

2. A sensible excuse

Have you reflected on your decision to abstain from alcohol? What is your motivator? Is this advice from your doctor? Pressure from family? A personal choice to seek sobriety? The reason doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. But, the execution does count.

If you cannot find a reason that you are quitting, make a sensible “excuse” that you can cling to. Even if this is not your motivator, find a healthy pseudo-reason to say no. For example, you can always use the excuse that you are trying to adhere to a diet that does not allow alcohol. Or, you might say that you are training hard at the gym and alcohol hurts your performance.

Having an excuse doesn’t make you a liar. For some people, the thought of being direct in their decisions is too difficult. Sometimes, it’s just easier to deflect any unwanted attention with a real excuse. In time, those excuses become the true motivators for abstinence.

3. Reliable sober buddy

Truthfully, you may need a sober buddy to help you reach your goal. And there is no shame in that! A sober friend is a great tool for support, especially at parties where most of the attendees are drinking alcohol.

With a friend to keep you safe, you may feel more at ease as you navigate temptation. A friend can encourage your new goal and provide added inspiration when you are feeling low.

4. Voluntary designated driver

When all else fails, appoint yourself to be the designated driver. It’s a title that no one can mess with, as it carries a great deal of responsibility. If you are still unsure of how to assert yourself or what motivator to cling to, you can default to this position.

A designated driver’s sole purpose is to remain sober and to get drunk people safely home. There is an imaginary boundary that separates a DD from everyone else — a boundary that protects a driver from unnecessary pressure to drink.

Refusal skills for alcohol

Welcome to the new, healthy you. Saying no to alcohol is just the first step in your amazing, new lifestyle. Embrace it! Turn those excuses into a reality and start taking care of yourself. Sobriety is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s a great step toward a better life — one with happier, healthier days.

Take your refusal skills with you wherever you go, and be confident in your decision to say no to alcohol. No one can take that away from you unless you let them.

Still having trouble saying no to alcohol? Check out our sober living options. We have great services that can aid in recovery and renewal.