5 Reasons You Can Give When Someone Asks Why You Don’t Drink
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5 Reasons You Can Give When Someone Asks Why You Don’t Drink


This post was originally published on May 6, 2014.

At some point or another, every sober person has to contend with awkward questions from well-meaning but clueless sorts. This seems to happen most when said alkie first stops drinking, especially in certain situations (like on dates or at parties). Instead of spontaneously scrambling to make up something appropriately honest but sufficiently non-revealing, try one of these out…

1) I’m allergic to alcohol. 

This classic excuse is straight outta the Big Book, baby, and if you’re an alcoholic, it’s actually kind of true, so don’t feel even slightly guilty about using it. You are allergic to alcohol, whether whole-hog physically or just mentally or emotionally. Your system doesn’t react well (understatement?) when it ingests the stuff, so duh, it makes perfect sense for you to simply not drink it. No need to expound or get into any further explanation; keep it short and simple.

2) I’m taking a break from drinking. 

This one is also valid and honest, so don’t overthink it when you say it. You don’t have to get into any long uncomfortable discussions about your prior drinking habits or your newfound sobriety; it’s no one’s business but your own. Saying you’re taking a little breather is true, right? Your sobriety is a (hopefully) extended  breather, one day at a time.

3) I’m on medication. 

Lots of people are on medicines that don’t allow them to imbibe—it’s not seen as remotely weird, and it’s a legit medical excuse. So what if it may not be 100 percent totally absolutely truthful? Whatever. Again, you don’t owe anyone a lengthy explanation for what’s happening inside your body or your mind, so stop feeling icky and just bust this awesome excuse out if it feels easiest for you.

4) I’m a reformed bad girl/bad boy. 

This is a cute, vaguely flirty justification that feels especially appropriate for a date or romantic sitch. It’s just evasive enough; don’t take it much further (i.e., avoid volunteering any details about your time in a mental hospital or how you’re committed to doing 90 in 90). S/he doesn’t need to hear those kinds of potentially alarming nitty-gritty details about your past—just that for this moment, you’re abstaining. And good for you.

5) I’m just…not a fan. 

Straight-up, simple, concise: what’s not to love about an excuse like this? No one can debate you on it, and hopefully they’ll actually appreciate your candor and leave you alone. Everyone has their likes and dislikes; alcohol happens to be one of yours. No big deal.

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About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and CNN.com. Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.