Updated on 3/8/2023

Navigating invitations to drink alcohol at social gatherings is often difficult for those in addiction recovery. This blog offers tips for saying no to drinks and communicating your boundaries. It also offers suggestions for activities and locations to spend time where alcohol is not likely to be present. 

Navigating Invitations to Drink Alcohol in Addiction Recovery

If you are in recovery from alcohol use, navigating social events while sober can present challenges. If your friends invite you out to drink, have an honest conversation about where you are in life. Of course, it’s up to you how much information you decide to share or not share with them. You don’t have to justify your decision not to drink, and no explanation is needed. However, honestly talking to your friends can help them understand where you are coming from and that your sobriety is important to you. 

Communicate Your Needs in Recovery from Alcohol Addiction

Let your friends know what they can do to help. You may still want to go with your friends, but you would appreciate a sober buddy. Let your friends know, and one of them may be willing to stay sober with you throughout the night and help you resist the temptation to drink. Or maybe you would like to spend time together, but not at a place where alcohol is served. You can suggest new activities. One of the easiest things you can do to avoid the temptation to drink — and avoid having to explain yourself — is to go to places that don’t serve alcohol. You can suggest hanging out somewhere where alcohol will likely not be served, such as coffee shops, museums, movie theaters or more casual restaurants. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No” to Alcohol

When you’re invited to drink, don’t be afraid to simply say “no.” To help yourself turn down invitations, you can keep it simple. Statements such as “I don’t drink” or “I’m in recovery” can be simple enough to get your point across and let people know you don’t want to go out with them. However, not everybody feels comfortable disclosing their sobriety. Instead, you can say something like, “No thanks. I’m tired tonight and want to go home.” You can practice these phrases at home to help yourself get more comfortable saying “no.” That way, when you are invited out, your response is ready. While saying “no” sounds easy, it is crucial to be firm and convincing so that others do not try to pressure you into going out with them. 

Turning Down Invitations to Drink Alcohol

When turning down invitations to drink, it’s also important to remember that not everyone wants to be sober. You may want a friend to be your sober buddy for the night, but they may not wish the same, and that’s OK. However, in these instances, sobriety can feel isolating. It can be easy to look at your friends and feel envious that they can go out to drink for a night and not spiral out of control. When you feel this way, remember why you chose sobriety in the first place and recognize how far you have come. By living a sober lifestyle, you are giving yourself the best gift you possibly can: freedom. 

Although sobriety can feel isolating, you can do things to remind yourself there is fun in recovery. While you may still have friends who drink, you can also make sober friends. Online groups, support meetings and old friends from treatment are great places to start looking for sober friends. With these people, you can go to restaurants and dine out while everyone stays sober and holds each other accountable. 

If you feel you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, Cliffside Malibu is here to help. We provide a fully luxurious environment for residential alcohol and drug treatment, so you can focus on the critical work of addressing your addiction with as little stress and discomfort as possible. For more information on Cliffside Malibu, call us today at (855) 403-5641.