If you’ve ever given up alcohol for any length of time it’s likely that you’ve been on the receiving end of the alcohol bully. In my experience they fall into two main types – the Pushers and the Disblievers.
The Pushers are those ‘friends’ who, despite knowing you’ve given up, insist on doing everything they can to get you to drink. They will beg, threaten and cajole until they finally find your weak spot and you give in – or you get so annoyed that you end up having an argument and going home vowing never to go out with them again.
Things you will hear a Pusher say:
- “You’re not drinking, what’s wrong with you? Are you mad?”
- “Go on, it’s only one. Surely you can have one can’t you?”
- “Come on have one. You’re being really boring.”
- “I don’t see the point in us going out if you aren’t going to drink.”
- “Have a spritzer, they’re mostly sparkling water anyway.”
- “Please have a drink with me, I feel weird drinking alone.”
Things you will hear a Disbeliever say:
- “Oh, are you still not drinking?’
- “Glass of wine?”
- “You don’t drink? Really?”
- “I thought you were only doing it for a month.” (9 months after you had your last alcoholic drink)
- “I’ll bet you £50 that you’ll never reach Christmas without a drink.”
I’m sure if you’ve had even a short spell of alcohol free living you will have encountered these kinds of responses, or similar, to your healthy lifestyle choice.
Everybody has an opinion, everybody has something to say. It’s like you say “I’m stopping drinking” and everybody else hears “I’m dabbling with Class A drugs.” In an increasingly health conscious society it’s seriously odd that giving up alcohol is still seen as a social no-no.
Of course, these responses are the reason that more people don’t give up because they fear the stigma and the hassle and aggravation that goes with it. At the end of the day though, both types of person are bullies and there is no need to tolerate them.
What Should You Do
Personally I think you should do whatever it takes to preserve and protect your AF life – even if it means lying to people if you think they just can’t handle the truth.
If you are truly committed to your alcohol free life but aren’t sure about what to say when you are faced with an alcohol bully, here are 30 things you can say to deal with them. I hope you find them useful.
- No thank you
- No thanks I’m not drinking at the moment
- I’m still not drinking
- I’ve given up
- I’m going dry for 30 days
- I’m doing everything I can to improve my health
- I’m driving
- I have to drive Dave to the station early in the morning
- I’m pregnant
- The doctor says I can’t drink on this medication
- I’ve got an early exercise class
- It’s starting to affect my work and theres a promotion coming up soon
- The kids asked me why I shout at them all the time
- My 6 year old son/daughter offered to get me a glass of mummy juice to make me feel better
- I want to spend more quality time with my family
- I can’t afford it
- There are alcoholics in my family and I don’t want to become one of them
- I’m sick of making an idiot of myself
- I want to live to an old age
- I want to lose weight
- I want great skin
- I want to see if not drinking will improve my sleep
- I read that alcohol causes anxiety and I realised recently that I’m constantly stressed and anxious for no reason
- I just decided it was getting in the way of all the other things I want to do
- It can cause cancer and I’m trying to do everything I can to reduce my risk
- I’m sick of feeling shit
- I’m too busy for the hangovers
- Why do you want me to drink, when I’ve told you I don’t want to?
- What is it about me not drinking that makes you feel uncomfortable?
- I feel like you’re bullying me into doing something I clearly don’t want to do. Can you stop please?
- If I never drank again, how would you feel?
Getting this kind of treatment from those you love can be very isolating but here are a couple of things to remember as you go on this brilliant journey.
- Improving your life by not drinking alcohol is a good thing. Never let anyone try and persuade you otherwise.
- Be compassionate to those who give you a hard time. It may be that you are holding up a mirror to them that they aren’t ready to look into.
- Some people need a little time to get used to your changing relationship. Be patient. Those that love you always will, no matter if you drink or not.
- Be reassured that more sobriety brings more natural confidence and this makes it easier and easier to deal with anyone who is trying to get you to drink.
- Remember you are at the leading edge of a new movement that has the potential to change the world. Be out and proud about your sobriety – you have nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be proud of.
If you would like to work out some responses that work for you, I have created a 30 Day Sobriety Journal which will give you all the space you need craft your sober life. Find out more HERE.
With love, Jules xx
Get your free 5 Top Tips HERE