Ask Joe: How to respond when offered a drink in recovery?
Q: “How does one respond to being offered
a drink after beginning life in recovery?”
I’m brand new in recovery and I haven’t yet had the courage to go out and socialize with friends or family yet. I’m scared to death about what to say when offered a drink in public. I know it sounds silly, but I’ve never had to deal with this before and I just don’t know what people will think and don’t trust myself to make the right decision. Can you help please?
A: Just say “No thanks.”
The first few times may be a little scary for you as you wonder, Will I have to explain why? What do I say? How do I say it? Is everyone going to know now?
This was something my wife (Judy) obsessed about when she was new in recovery. She remembers sitting at a big table of co-workers in a Mexican restaurant, and when the waitress came to their table, her friends ordered
margaritas. She thought, What am I going to say when it comes to me? As it turned out, ordering a Diet Coke was not a big deal and no one really noticed.
A polite “No thank you” is all that is necessary when the waiter offers the wine list. There are many reasons for not drinking other than addiction—medical reasons, dietary restrictions, being the designated driver, pregnancy, and just plain not wanting to drink. Saying no does not mean that you have to tell the world of your past.
For some people, this may be a bigger issue than for others. For this group, I would suggest developing a “canned response” and even practice it if necessary. Find a response that you are comfortable with—something like, “I’m done with that part of my life,” or “Not today.”
Just being honest is also an option: “I found it was difficult to drink in moderation, so I just quit,” or “I’ve had enough to last me a lifetime.”
Who knows? This could actually inspire someone else to quit.
This post excerpted from Pg. 232 of “Why Don’t They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.” (See below for purchasing options)
MORE ASK JOE:
>Chronic Pain Management & Pain Pill Addiction: What to do?
>How can I know if my addicted friend or loved one is telling the truth?
>”I need help because I’m not able to deal with my live-in Fiance’s need to get drunk every night.”
>Should my husband “back off?”
>Gambling vs. Drug Addiction? What is your opinion?
>How can I tell if someone is an addict/alcoholic or just a heavy user?
>What is Methadone? What is Harm Reduction?
>Is a Relapse–Failure?
>If someone can stop using . . . they “aren’t” an addict–correct?
>If both parents are addicts, does that increase the child’s chances of addiction?
> Self-Tests: Alcohol and Drug Addiction
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