You're on your road to recovery. You've spent time in an alcohol addiction treatment program and you've done the work to be on a path to a healthier, alcohol free life. Winter has been dragging you down, but the weather has finally changed, and you're in a good place as you look forward to spring. But now is not the time to relax too much, let your guard down, and have "just one drink" at Easter dinner.
Many people will have given up alcohol for Lent and after 40 days of abstinence, Easter is their first opportunity to indulge. The Easter long weekend, full of dinners and brunches, can be a difficult time for recovering alcoholics but it doesn't have to be with a little pre-planning.
Know Your “No”
Practice saying “no thanks” to drinks firmly and with confidence, but also in a friendly and respectful manner. You have to mean it if you want it to work. Avoid long explanations and vague excuses as you might just talk yourself into saying “yes”.
Imagine the different ways you will be offered alcohol and practice saying “no” to each of those before you even leave the house. You may be surprised at just how hard it is for you to say “no”, but you'll also be surprised at how easy it is for most people to just accept “no” and move on.
Here are some variations on how to refuse a drink:
- "No, thank you. I'm not drinking this evening."
- "No, thank you. I don't drink alcohol."
- "No, thank you. I have to drive my friends home."
- "No, thank you. I have to drive myself home."
- "No, thank you. I forgot my designated driver."
- "No, thank you. I'm not thirsty at the moment."
- "No, thank you. I'm still recovering from a cold."
- "Thanks for the offer, but I'm pacing myself."
- If they insist, then you must insist as well. "Thank you for the offer, but I'd really rather not drink."
- "Thank you, but no. Perhaps another time."
Get an Ally
If you have someone who is aware of your commitment to sobriety, have them attend the event with you and ask them to step in with a distraction if your “no” is starting to waver.
Keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand
If you already have a non-alcoholic drink in your hand you’ll be less likely to order another drink. You’ll also be less likely to be offered another drink.
Drinking and driving don't mix. Mention that you're driving and shouldn't be drinking.
Remove yourself from the situation
If someone is insistently asking you to drink and is not respecting your desire to abstain, you can politely excuse yourself, take an impromptu bathroom break or “phone call”, or take it as a cue to leave the event entirely.
Remember, it’s YOUR choice not to drink. Other people will respect your decision if you make it your decision and stand firm. If you're worried about a relapse, talk to someone. Visit an AA group, reach out to your sponsor, or contact an addiction specialist.