Kate's Blog

How To Deal With Drink Pushers This Christmas

If you’re sober (or trying to be), an issue you might have to deal with at this time of year is having drinks pushed on you. Here are a few examples of things you could hear:

“What do you mean you’re not drinking? Don’t be boring.”

“I’m not taking no for an answer, I’ve got you a drink anyway!”

“Come on, one glass won’t hurt…”

Argh! 🙄 It’s annoying that you have to deal with drink pushers now, so early on in sobriety, when you have plenty of other things to be thinking about.

Here are my tips for dealing with this nonsense at Christmas!

Key points

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt here, because I don’t think drink pushers are really trying to sabotage you. They’re just used to you drinking with them. So they’re offering you a drink like they always have done, and they expect you to say yes because that’s what you’ve always said before.

They might think you deserve a drink or a break from trying to “be good”. They want you to treat yourself and have fun – perhaps you’ve had some great times together in the past, drinking.

It’s also true that they might have a vested interest in you drinking. Perhaps it’s uncomfortable for them to have you “being good” as it makes them question their drinking. But whatever’s going on for them, that’s their stuff and you’re not responsible for it. 

If we were talking about bananas here, and your friend said, “Come on, we’re all having a banana. I know you want a banana too, just have half of one at least…” You probably wouldn’t feel guilty about saying no. You wouldn’t worry about disappointing them. You’d just be thinking, “What is your obsession with bananas?”

You can go into these situations thinking things that make you feel terrible, or you can think things like, “It doesn’t matter what liquid is in my glass. That is the least interesting thing about me.” Or, “I’m here because I want to see my friends and I can do that no matter what liquid I drink.” Or, “I’m here because it’s a work party and I feel obliged to be here. But drinking at a boring party just means I’ll be drunk at a boring party.”

Those are all great thoughts to stay focused on. It’s your thoughts that will make you feel good or bad in these situations, not what other people do.

Remember that you don’t owe anyone an explanation. The drink pushers don’t need your back story. You can make up an excuse, if that feels easier, or you can just say something simple like, “I’m not drinking at the moment, it hasn’t been making me feel good.”

Be really positive. Even if you have to fake that positivity, telling someone that you’re feeling really good about not drinking and that you’re not missing it at all, is a great idea – because it’s much harder for them to keep pestering you if you kill off half of their argument.

Finally, keep a sense of perspective. Even if someone makes a big deal out of you not drinking, it’s only a brief moment. Any drink pushers you encounter will move on and forget about it soon enough. But if you drink, you won’t recover so quickly. You won’t forget about it, because you’ll be back on Day 1, living with the consequences of breaking your sober streak. So stand firm and protect your sobriety. You’ve got this.

Looking to create a sober life you love? Click here to learn more about my Getting Unstuck course.

Hi, I'm Kate

I founded The Sober School to show you there’s another way out of your shame that doesn’t involve AA or rehab. 


16 Responses

  1. I’m day 18 of being A/F , iv been drinking since my late 20s almost whenever I’m not working. This time of year will be a challenge to avoid drinking, so I’m grateful for any advice on handling drink pushers.

  2. Such a good post! I’ve been lucky because I’m not inclined to drink in social situations and have never felt pressured anyway.

    Following on from Kate’s suggestion — if you feel the need to offer a specific excuse, I’d say, make it SUPER-specific, e.g.: ‘I can’t! the last month, every time I have alcohol I wake up with backache at 3 a.m. and it takes me ages to get back to sleep. Weird, eh?’ The person you feel is pressurizing to have a drink will either (a) get bored or (b) start telling you about their own back problems. (Maybe another difficulty.)

    But don’t feel obliged to explain anything if you don’t want to. You’ve done your bit, by showing up at the party and being sociable. You don’t owe anyone anything more than that.

  3. I stopped drinking on 30/11/2023 ( Thursday)
    I have a work night out on the 14th of this mth , I have already decided that I’m takeing my car and that I will have Nosecco or ginger beer , I told the first work colleague today ( he knows I had a really bad night, whilst on a night out on the Sat 26th Nov , a concerned friend who I txted and said “ I’d had enough “ came looking for me at work ) , he just joked and said …” ohh have you had enough of drinking for the year ? ..and laughed , I replied “ yes , something like that ! I’m a non drinker now and I very much intend to stay a non drinker , I’m not scared , I’m committed ! Kates blogs have answered and helped all my questions , I’ve given 43 years of my life to drinking , and I’m not giving it another day of my life , thank you for the strength I needed to find

    1. Good for you Nicola! Having a solid plan is the best idea and driving is something that no one can question. You deserve better than giving any more of your one and only, precious life to alcohol. Time to give sobriety a chance because you won’t regret it, I promise. 🙂

      1. On my first night ( thurs 30/12/2023 ) , I went to what I thought was my first AA meeting , but it wasn’t on for whatever reason ! rather than give up ….again ! I went home and googled for “ help to quit drinking “ again ! and your site came up , I consider that as fate , as it came at the exact time I was looking and it hadn’t came up all week in my search for HELP , and I had been looking , since my night from hell on ( Sat 26/11/2023 )
        I’ve tried many many times to STOP , and FAILED , but thanks to Thursday and your fantastic blogs , I understand I’m not the problem , ALCOHOL is , and I’m done with it and it’s POISON in my LIFE

  4. Love the beautiful frosty landscape and pink clothing Kate.

    If you don’t mind lying you can say you’re on antibiotics!

  5. Thanks, Kate. I enjoyed the video and there are lots of good tips. I have scheduled several fun things this month and it’s a good perspective to have a plan ahead to not be drinking. I think if I’m offered a drink I can simply say “not today” with no other explanation. I’m grateful a lot of my friends do not drink and never have. Last year I was alcohol free through the holidays (thanks to completing Sober School Oct. of 2022) and it was sooo wonderful.

    1. That’s a perfect response Deanna, “not today”. To be honest, being alcohol-free during the busiest and booziest time of year actually makes things a lot easier. Who needs to feel sluggish, tired and slightly off when there’s so much to do and enjoy. ❤️

  6. It’s true that the drink pushers get over it. I had a choir concert last night and post show Xmas party. I drank water, saved on the horrendous bar prices and was first on the dance floor. I had a great time. Nearly a year sober and I ain’t stopping now. Already discovered REAL sparkling tea for Xmas day. Delicious. Good luck everyone. You got this!

  7. I always (after you suggested it), have a plan. I visualize how my body, my emotions and thoughts will make it through a fun non-alcoholic evening.

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