Week three: Learning how to say no

Millie Gooch | April 2023 | 6 minutes

Welcome to week three Sober Springers! Now, one of the wonderful things about taking a booze break is that by doing it, you have officially decided to do something that feels right for you, one that puts you, your mental health and physical health first.

I’m Millie Gooch, founder of the Sober Girl Society, here to bring you some brilliant tips on tackling Sober Spring – the three-month break from alcohol.

Unfortunately, when going alcohol free there’s likely going to be people who try and change your mind and if you are used to bending-over-backwards to avoid disappointing others, you need to make sure that you go into The Battle of Peer Pressure (2023) with the right weapons at your disposal.

If you’re a classic people-pleaser, here are some top tips for saying no!

Practise your response

As well as fear, people can sniff out indecision, so you need to make sure that your rebuttal to why you aren’t drinking is both confident and watertight. It doesn’t need to be lengthy, and I recommend something along the lines of ‘I’m just taking some time off from drinking, I’m not sure how long it will be for, but I feel great from it at the moment.’

Put it out there ahead of time

In my experience, the last thing you want to do is defend your decision not to drink whilst you’re supposed to be enjoying your time out, so I find tackling the subject before I’ve even arrived at the bar/restaurant is helpful. I’ll usually drop a text to my friends saying, ‘Just so you know, I’m not drinking tonight’. I find this gives them some time to warm up to the idea and avoids any shocked reactions and probing questions in real life.

Be honest

We all know the score - if you tell people you are on antibiotics, they will insist you can still drink on them. If you tell people you’re driving, they will tell you to just leave your car – whatever excuse you come up with for why you aren’t drinking, best believe someone will find an argument against it. For this reason, I’ve always found it easier to be honest with people about why I’m not drinking. This doesn’t mean disclosing my entire life story but usually along the lines of ‘I just feel so much happier as a person when I don’t drink because I get really low when I’m hungover.’ I’ve found that both the transparency and vulnerability is usually met with support.

Related content