Thursday, July 28, 2011

Seven Days Sober: Knowing Your "No"

I've been wanting to do more with this blog for a while, but life keeps interfering and it isn't as easy as it may look to writing these essays.  One of my interests has always been early sobriety, and so I've decided to add a slightly different type of post.  This hint series will consist of short posts on things of particular interest to the woman just starting her recovery journey.  I will try to do one every day.

Knowing Your "No"

One of the biggest hurdles we face in early sobriety is handling that moment when someone offers us a drink.  It is vital that we learn that "No" is a complete sentence.  When refusing a drink, we don't want long explanations or drawn-out conversation, as these offer more opportunities for us to change our minds.  We want a short, simple refusal that we can pull out immediately.  When someone offers you a drink, here are some pointers:

  • Do not hesitate in your response.  The longer it takes you to respond, the more likely your brain will try to talk you into saying yes.
  • Make eye contact with the person.
  • Keep your answer short and sweet, polite but not vague.
You may wish to plan a series of replies, for handling the person who persists in asking you to drink.  You may start with the simple and proceed to more assertive statements.

  • No, thank you.
  • No, thanks, I don't want to.
  • I am not drinking now (for whatever reason you choose to give, weight loss and medication often work).  I'd appreciate you helping me out.

Having a non-alcoholic drink handy may help in keeping someone else from asking repeatedly that you "join in".  It may even prevent them from asking in the first place, as they may assume you are already drinking.  Be prepared to walk away if the situation continues and you feel your sobriety threatened.

You must remember that YOU are in charge.  WFS Statement 13: I am responsible for myself and my actions.  Do not allow someone's badgering to meld with the idea that an external force is keeping you from drinking.  You are not drinking because YOU choose not to.  Someone who is pressuring you to drink is trying to tell you what to do.  Do not give in!

Further information may be found at http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/default.asp

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