What to Say When You’re Not Drinking

by: Mike Miller

Being an alcoholic is embarrassing. This is true regardless of the person. If you are newly sober, the holiday season can be trying. You attend one gathering after another where alcohol is served. You have drank with many or all of the other guests. They are used to having you partake in holiday spirits with them.

Again, you’re newly sober. You’ve only just recently admitted to yourself that you are an alcoholic. You certainly do not feel ready to “come out of the closet” just yet. So, what do you tell people?

In my experience I stayed “in the closet” for about five years where anyone near me knew I was a serious alcoholic. I lied to myself in believing that others had not learned of my “secret” problem with alcohol.

The most important thing is that you have decided not to drink this holiday season, and because you are embarrassed by your alcoholism, you need a good “excuse.” Following are a few ideas.

You can always lie and say you are taking some medication that mixes especially badly with alcohol. Or you can lie and tell them you are just taking a break (you may in fact actually believe that).

Or you can tell them the truth – that you have stopped drinking. Of course you cannot say “for a while” because then you know you have not committed to stop drinking.

Whether you tell the truth or not, the important decision not to drink is a good one. Sustain your sobriety for six months or a year and then you can come out and tell everyone you are not drinking anymore – that you have been doing it for so long – you certainly don’t miss it.