How to Respond to 'Why Aren't You Drinking?'

December 4, 2014 Becky Doyle

This time of year, the pressure to drink rises with the number of holiday parties. In awkward situations, like office parties, alcohol was my social lubricant. It made me feel calm, cool, and sophisticated in an environment where I was usually very uncomfortable. For me, awkward parties (especially during the holidays) are among the biggest threats to my sobriety. Facing the holidays sober was very intimidating to me in early sobriety. Even now, I need all the tips I can get on how to stay sober through the holidays, like Thanksgiving.

Why aren't you drinking? The question begs a response, and you need a good one. Here's my go-to set of responses to 'Why aren't you drinking?' Watch this.

I'm learning that it's okay to be uncomfortable during the holiday season, even though I have been sober for five years now. As a recovering alcoholic, it may never go away. The difference is that I don't let it prevent me from having a good time.

Even now, when I attend an event where alcohol is being served, the craving may strike and if I'm not prepared, I may pick up. I have found that it's easier to survive the holidays with my sobriety intact if I can remember a few key things about my sobriety and if I have set response to someone offering me a drink.

Here are some of my favorites.

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APA Reference
Doyle, B. (2014, December 4). How to Respond to 'Why Aren't You Drinking?', HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Becky Doyle

Sandra Gane
December, 10 2014 at 11:20 pm

Why are you drinking

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Doyle
December, 17 2014 at 2:41 pm

Awesome suggestion! Counter their question with another one...

Andrea Paquette
December, 10 2014 at 1:44 am

I simply say "I just choose not to drink." That is all I say and ever need to say in my opinion all the time :)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Doyle
December, 17 2014 at 2:44 pm

Valid point! We don't owe anyone an explanation. It's no one's business, really! When I was first getting sober though, I was a notoriously big drinker in my social circle. So until I truly grew into my new identity, I needed an excuse to back me up.

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