Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

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sardino
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Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by sardino » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:53 pm

Hi everyone,

I recently decided to get sober and yesterday found myself in a rough situation. I was with an old friend and told him about my being sober. He accepted it and was happy for me, though he didn't understand it. He drank for basically the whole night and I just accompanied him without drinking at all, which was nice. We went to some bars, but I ordered juice at every one.

However, I then suggested that we go to another friend's bar. My friend is the owner and since I was only in town for a short time, thought it good to see him. At the bar, when I ordered a juice he looked at me with shock. I didn't tell him that I was going completely sober, but told him I was trying to cut back. He then offered people at the bar shots for end of the year and I felt awkward because he offered me one too. I put it up to my lips to act as thought I was drinking but didn't drink. I knew that if I started drinking I would be frustrated with myself and disappointed. So I didn't. I gave the shot to my friend and continued drinking my juice.

I have two questions here.

First, how do you all get around turning down drinks when they are offered? I tell people that I am not drinking, but sometimes they may be insistent I guess.

Second, is it necessary to avoid bars entirely? In hindsight, I really shouldn't have gone to a bar where I might have been offered a free drink like that. But in the other bars, I did just fine. It was actually nice drinking juice and being clear headed. A bit strange, but nonetheless good. It was only when I went somewhere where I was tempted that things get a bit more difficult. Any thoughts on this?

Thanks all.

GreatD
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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by GreatD » Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:43 pm

I usually tell them I've had enough or I'm the driver. Or flat out I don't drink anymore.

I had to distance myself from a few friends who were big drinkers. You do what you have to do. A situation like that is one I'd avoid at first. I don't have much of a desire to go to bars anymore

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Peter.H.
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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by Peter.H. » Fri Jan 01, 2016 1:30 am

With people who knew me as a drinker, I say and do what GreatR said.

With people who don't know my past, I say "I don't drink".
90% of people accept that and leave it at that.
The other 10% question that verbally or with a frown, then I ad "because I like it too much". Two things happen from this:
1/ They can understand that and leave it alone.
2/ They can understand that and ask further questions. This one opens up for a possible 12th Step call - to carry the message of experience, strength, and hope.
"...unless this person can experience an entire psyche change there is very little hope of his recovery" - Dr. Silkworth. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed, p xxix.]

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whipping post
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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by whipping post » Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:14 am

When I first quit I avoided tempting situations like the plague.

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Niagara
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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by Niagara » Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:20 am

What whipping post said...although that's not necessary these days unless I'm feeling 'off the boil' as it were.

I have no problem saying I don't drink these days. It gets easier with practice. Most just looked shocked and leave it. The odd curious one says 'what? never?' at which point I just laugh and say 'nope, never'. If anyone questions further I just say I don't like the effect it has on me.

To be fair, most accept it without further comment, though I do have the odd one saying 'oh go on, just one, or are you drinking tonight...strangely, usually family members who ought to know better :roll:
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month -
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Robert R
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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by Robert R » Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:39 am

I tend not to find myself in these situations now as my life is far too full/busy to waste my time in bars. At the odd wedding or family get together I merely politely decline as 'normal' people do. On the rare occasion that an insistent idiot perseveres I have no qualms in telling him/her not too politely where to put their proffered drink. My sobriety is too valuable to pussyfoot around.
Don't know exactly where I am going but I'm on my way and it's already much better than where I've been.

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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by Layne » Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:02 am

I just say "No thanks". People either accept it or they don't. The vast, vast, vast majority of the world is not paying enough attention to my actions to give it a second thought.

If I say "No thanks, I don't drink", more ears will perk up and some will take it as a thrown gauntlet. I am not afraid of standing my ground by any means, but why invite controversy?

I can go to bars with no problems or qualms whatsoever. That freedom comes to me from having worked the twelve steps. That being said, I don't go to bars because there is rarely anything there that I want. Occasionally I will find myself in a bar, like at an airport when I need change, information, etc; or when I was caregiver for my mom and needed coca-cola syrup to ease her stomach discomfort from chemo, but I don't go to bars for the atmosphere, etc. because they don't have the atmoshere, etc that I desire or seek any more.

Early in recovery before I worked the twelve steps, going to a bar would have been feeding my disease with it's strong denial process; and the results for me, fairly predictable. See I handled that fine. I did it and I didn't drink. Then would come the time, since I handled it fine the last time, I can handle having one drink. See I handled that fine. I had one drink and I didn't get drunk. Etc, etc, etc. The progression for this alcoholic, inevitable.

I have done more controlled drinking experiments than I could possibly count. What I have gleaned out of those experiments is that every time I decide it is fine to have one drink every _____ (insert time frame of choice), the time frame chosen gets shorter and shorter until It gets to, if I am awake...I am drinking.

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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by Reborn » Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:48 am

I've been offered drinks and I just turn them down...if pressed (as said above)I say "I like it too much". If pressed further I walk away..AA has given me the choice to do so. I don't necessarily avoid bars when I have a good reason to be there...but I don't go out of my way to be at one either. As layne said if you work the 12 steps you can experience the 10th step promises...which says that the obsession to drink will leave us as long as keep in fit spiritual condition. Our thoughts toward liquor just come to us...that is the miracle of it...but we have to take the actions laid out in the Big Book to achieve this. My suggestion is find a person who works the steps from the Big Book and get busy with the actions..nothing changes if nothing changes!
Last edited by Reborn on Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132

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ann2
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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by ann2 » Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:54 am

Hi, thanks for the topic. I actually had my first unpleasant reaction to declining alcohol. We had guests over and one of them, a particularly controlling and over-talkative sort (who definitely got me to air my shortcomings in an embarrassing way later on in the evening) wanted to know more about my not drinking.

I think because I sensed she just wanted to dive into my personal life I reacted negatively to her question. I said, "I don't really need to share the whole story with you." She didn't want to drop it but with my reply she pretty much had to.

I think the point for me was that gee, I wish I had the perfect way to say something personal without getting defensive. I wish I was that good. However, I have to face up to the reality that I still have a long way to go. My other take-away was that there's no reason I have to protect the feelings of someone who doesn't feel the need to protect others' feelings. If she thinks it's okay to pry, then she should be prepared for the possibility of being turned down.

I'm not the most socially adept human, at any rate. This I know. I'm not earmarked for the diplomatic corps, for sure. I can't make everyone happy. And really, what's so horrible about claiming a little privacy? Okay, I can see that it might have been a good 12th step opportunity. I've done that in the past, however, and gotten burned. I just didn't see the value of exposing myself at this time.

She drank, not overly much that I could see, and her husband didn't at all, although he wasn't one of us. He just didn't want to. Imagine that.

Ann
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D'oh
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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by D'oh » Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:15 pm

I just say "No thanks I am allergic" Pressed further I say "I break out in handcuffs"

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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by Patsy© » Fri Jan 01, 2016 3:58 pm

Happy New Year Sardino!

You are too new to Sobriety to be hanging around bars, or people, places and things that will temp you to drink. Why? You have No Defense against the First Drink! Let me share that with you again........YOU have NO DEFENSE against the First Drink!

I would strongly suggest that you get to as many AA meetings in your area as you can, especially at these times when the booze is flowing and you aren't even sure how to say simply "No Thank you"

Have a great Sober New Year Sardino :)
Failed 12 Step Call? Not if we walk away sober!

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Peter.H.
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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by Peter.H. » Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:31 pm

Robert R wrote:I tend not to find myself in these situations now as my life is far too full/busy to waste my time in bars. At the odd wedding or family get together I merely politely decline as 'normal' people do. On the rare occasion that an insistent idiot perseveres I have no qualms in telling him/her not too politely where to put their proffered drink. My sobriety is too valuable to pussyfoot around.
Hi Robert R.
Glad to hear that you are not involved with the drinking community as such.
Sometimes a person's job, like in the construction game, their tends to be a lot of drinkers (not at work) but after work they may invite others to the pub.
I am a few decades sober now, but recently been working as a road traffic controller. Many here are heavy drinkers. The job regularly sees a change of workers you have to work with, it is the nature of the job due to work locations, casual job status, and availability. I get frequently asked by people who don't know me yet, to go to the pub with them after work.
Just letting you know.
"...unless this person can experience an entire psyche change there is very little hope of his recovery" - Dr. Silkworth. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed, p xxix.]

sardino
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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by sardino » Sat Jan 02, 2016 5:20 am

Hi everyone,

Thank you all for the helpful replies! Henceforth, I think it might be the best decision to avoid bars as much as possible. I think it is a good idea for the time being, though I really didn't mind being in a bar just drinking juice and chatting with friends.

I also see some family members reacting with some surprise. I haven't really discussed my sobriety with anyone yet, so I am guessing it will raise some eyebrows when I finally bring it up.

I had a follow up question, I'd much like others to chime in on. If this question doesn't get any traction here, I will post a new thread, but since there is thus far a good amount of replies, perhaps it'll get a good response here.

What other activities are there to do besides bars? Especially when spending time with friends who like to drink. One of the reasons I took my friend to that bar was because we had gone to three other places - two restaurants, and one other bar - and it was still too early for a coffee and head home. I really don't like movies, dancing, bowling, or anything, I really just like talking and eating. Bar hopping was great for this because it gave me a means to continue eating and socializing all night. Cutting this out, does anyone have any other recommendations?

Thanks!

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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by Robert R » Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:15 am

Hi again, sardino. I too have friends who drink socially, they are also comfortable in coffee shops and restaurants without a bar. That is they are not driven to drink or suffer the compulsion to as I did. I invite them to join me regularly along with non drinking friends too at my home for a meal and conversation over the table. I get similar invites from them. Those who drink will sometimes bring wine or beer for themselves and that is ok with me now since doing the steps. We all meet up regularly at various venues, if a bar then I decline unless it is a special occasion.
Basically what I perceive as social life has changed dramatically (I thought the old social life I had was the only way :lol: ) this change in me did not happen overnight, it was a gradual process that started to kick in after step 5.
You my friend are at the start of a journey of discovery. Keep asking the questions, none of us has all the answers but through sharing our experience, strength and hope with each other answers sometimes do appear :D
Don't know exactly where I am going but I'm on my way and it's already much better than where I've been.

sardino
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Re: Declining drinks and telling people that you are sober

Post by sardino » Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:27 pm

Hi RobertR,

Thanks for the advice. So what do you do then? Just keep it to coffee shops? How about later in the evening. Restaurants and sometimes desserts are good, and personally I could enjoy cycling between such places, just as much as I did bars. However, unlike where I could take a drink in each place, eating is more difficult. I think restaurants and coffee shops are good places to start, perhaps throwing in an ice cream or desert shop if people are into that too. But the hours I'd spend with friends eating and going from bar to bar suddenly becomes a bit of a challenge to keep up and it is a bit difficult to keep things fresh. To be fair, I've only tried this twice thus far, so I will see how things go when I am really put to the test, but nonetheless it is something I am concerned about.

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