What? You’re not drinking?

C’mon, you’re not going to make me drink alone, are you?

You’ll drink again eventually though, right?

But you don’t even have a problem!

I don’t trust people who don’t drink.

Sometimes the thought of facing these questions and comments when we’re first trying to change our drinking makes us want to hide. 

For some, these types of inquiries bring up a host of negative feelings – self-doubt, guilt, embarrassment, shame, defensiveness, defeat….

We think if we had the one perfect retort we could control what other people think and we could feel better. 

But it’s not other people’s opinions or words that provoke these unpleasant feelings. It’s our thoughts about what they say that causes our suffering. That’s because their words are reflecting our own worries, doubts, and judgments about our decision to change our drinking. 

If we’re worried that drinking less or not at all means we won’t be as much fun, or we’re ruining their good time, or that we’re weird, or there is something wrong with us, we are going to be sensitive to other people’s opinions. They’re revealing to us our own insecurities. 

And that’s okay. That’s normal. Especially when we first start out and aren’t feeling entirely sure of ourselves or our decision. 

But instead of isolating yourself to “protect” against their judgments, just try watching your own reaction. There’s a wealth of good insight there that will point in the direction of obstacles that could potentially trip you up. 

And then get curious about why they might be making those comments. It’s probably because they don’t want to question their own drinking, or can’t imagine having fun without alcohol, or consider drinking an important part of their identity.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation, but if you feel like giving them an answer I suggest the simple truth. 

How come you’re not drinking?

I don’t feel like it.