Sober people share their responses to: 'Why aren't you drinking?' this Christmas

You’re at the bar. It’s a work do, and all of your colleagues are here. The barman comes over, and you order a diet coke. Your colleague turns to look at you. Oh no, here we go, the question is coming.

They cock their head and look you up and down. ‘Why aren’t you drinking?’. You sigh, you didn’t think people asked this anymore…

While the Christmas drinking culture is still alive and kicking, choosing sobriety is becoming more normalised. 

And yet, some people still haven’t got the memo and will look at you like you have three heads when you tell them you aren’t drinking over the festive period. 

If you’re newly sober, or this is your first Christmas opting for abstinence, fielding that question from your boozy auntie or childhood friends may feel scary. 

So we asked people who are going to be sober this year what you need to know: how do you respond to the question: ‘Why aren’t you drinking?’

‘Why aren’t you drinking?’

‘Sincerely, I will say: “I stopped drinking alcohol five months ago, and it’s the very best thing I have ever done for my mental health.” I LOVED Sam Delaney’s @DelaneyMan’s observation that Christmas is inherently fun ‘and boozing really just makes it the same as a lot of other days’. – Daisy Buchanan, podcast host and author 

‘Because I want to remember Christmas this year.’ – Scott McGlynn, Celebrity Talk Host

‘(Been 2 years sober), and when people ask why, my response is: “Why do you care what I’m drinking, let’s just have fun!”‘

‘Reminder you don’t need to explain to anyone why you don’t drink. It can be personal, medical, triggering, etc’ – Gigi Robinson, chronic illness advocate 

‘Depends on their tone – if they’ve annoyed me they might get: “Rampant alcoholic – best not !”, more neutral: “I’m 18 years sober, it’d be a shame to wreck a good run” or curious: “We all have a lifetime ration of alcohol. I finished mine early!” Always with a smile.’ – Dom Gittins 

‘This is my sixth sober Christmas and I used to say I was on meds for a gnarly infection and did the want to have a look at my wound? (I like making people uncomfortable). Now I just say I’m  a better person without a drink and stop being weird by asking.’ – Catherine Renton

‘Why ARE you drinking?’ – Yasmina Floyer, writer

‘I needed a break and a clearer head. I think Christmas is a good time as any [to be sober] as you can really appreciate catching up with old friends and family and there are plenty of other things to appreciate besides alcohol, like great food and giving/receiving gifts.

‘Who wants to be hungover on Christmas day really? Oh, and you can save a helluva lot of much-needed cash.’ – Adam Markiewicz, Student

‘I’m always honest and say I’m an alcoholic. So far I’ve never experienced any negativity or judgement when I’ve told anyone, if anything people are usually quite interested in my sobriety and will often end up telling me about their own issues with alcohol.’ – @SecretDrugAddict 

‘I can’t stand being hungover.’ – Faith Robinson, researcher

‘”I’m a heroin addict and getting drunk might just set me off”. That normally shuts down the conversation.’ – Mick Gunn, comedian 

‘I’m breastfeeding and have two kids to look after now. It’s hard enough to keep up with how energetic the older one is while I’m sober, let alone being tipsy or hungover!’ – Stace Higginbotham, NHS worker 

‘When I’m sober by choice (not due to pregnancy like I am right now) I say a combo of things: “I just don’t fancy it”, “I can’t be bothered with the hangover – I’m 35 now!”, “I’m enjoying having a clear head”, “I want to remember all your secrets tomorrow”, “I’ve got plans tomorrow morning,”’ – Anna Butterworth, Founder of Ultra Violet Agency 

‘”I just don’t want to”. Shouldn’t this be enough?’ – Professor Pragya Agarwal

‘I always go with: “Because I don’t want to” and if they persist say: “My dad, grandfather, ex-husband were alcoholics and all died through alcohol” that usually shuts them up.’ – Laura Foster 

‘This will be my 15th sober Christmas. If asked, I will say something like: “I packed it in years ago” which is true. If pushed, I might say that I have a broken off switch when it comes to booze. If I know them well enough, I’ll tell them I’m an alcoholic.’ – Kevin Lewis 

‘I just don’t drink anymore, and my health, mind and wealth are so much better than 12 months ago.’ – Reginaldo 

‘If he is around, I just point at my son and say: “Because he gets up at 4:30 in the morning, which is rubbish, but worse after a bottle of wine”’ – Gareth Dean, co-founder of Non-Plastic Beach

‘Depending on who’s asking and how much I feel like divulging. I mostly just say: “No thanks, I don’t drink”, if they push, I slip in the word “sober” and that gets the point across. I have different levels of “the story” which is dependent on how comfortable I am with that person. – Sally Biddall, Director of Dandelion Social 

‘Because someone has to look after you when you’re sick’ – Emmi Bowles 

‘I usually say: “Why do you need to know?”‘ – @porcupetta

‘God I wish people would stop asking me why I don’t drink. Maybe the best reply would be: “Why are you drinking?” Literally, it’s no one’s business – Kate Beavis, sustainable wedding planner 

‘”It makes me puke” is a swift work around – people don’t try to “fix” something that might affect them – Nia Ireland, Audiobook producer 

‘This will be my second Christmas sober. My best is: “I’m much less of a c**t when I don’t drink”.’ – Danielle Jones, journalist

‘I either say I’m a recovering alcoholic, or my more jokey reply is that I drank more than enough for one lifetime and I don’t drink anymore.’ – @sir_crunchy_nut

‘I confuse the hell out of people by drinking sometimes, but not all the time (a fluctuating medical condition which sometimes means I’ll have a glass of wine or 2, and then be teetotal for weeks/months). I find a frank, complex medical explanation usually shuts them up.’ – Gail Bishop, Workforce Data Lead

‘Say I’m pregnant and point to my belly full of pigs in blankets and turkey. Usually shuts them up.’ – Sarah Schijen, content strategist 

‘Because I want to wake up tomorrow and remember my day through a positive lens rather than one full of anxiety.’ – Megan, freelance writer 

‘I did Dry January in 2017 and I’m still going.’ – Sarah Dunwoody 

“’I ran out of hangovers. I used up my quota so now I live a life hangover free.”  That’s one I have loved to use over the last nearly 4 years of not drinking.’ – Julie Linehan, Founder, The Digital Voice 

I’ve had a mental breakdown and am not consuming depressants until I’ve had a few months of stable mental health.- Matt, freelance copywriter 

‘Because I’m not. I don’t need to chemically imbalance myself to validate a holiday or create a false sense of happiness. Why ARE you drinking? Should always be the question!’ – @the_queenieb

‘I’m doing a no-drinking challenge for a year. If I could handle Glasto and my wedding, I can handle Christmas.’ – Katie Taylor Thompson, content marketing 

‘“Coz I poisoned the drinks” will be mine this year!’ – Meggy Roussel-Francheteau, yoga teacher 

‘I start vomiting after just a couple of drinks. I’d hate to stain your carpet.’ – Kate

‘Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for serotonin depletion.’  Jamie, nurse 

‘I don’t want to because I don’t like the way alcohol makes me feel. I have long since grown out of the need to get pissed to enjoy myself.’ – Helen 

‘“Don’t want to” and redirect the conversation. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your choice.’ – April Noelle, podcaster 

‘I lived that way for a handful of years, and now I’m trying this.’ – Dan, singer 

‘My mouth, my stomach, my business.’ – Katrina Marshall 

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Source: Read Full Article