Have you ever walked into a party or a restaurant to meet some friends after a recent vow of sobriety? You sit down and say your hellos just as someone orders everyone a round of shots. You say, “Thanks, but no thanks…I’ve decided to get sober.”
And then it happens.
Everyone at the table is looking at you like you’ve just done a striptease. Telling your friends that you’ve quit your job to work at a Pokemon Go Gym would probably have gotten a better reaction.
What is it with people being so shocked at the idea of someone being sober?
Then, as if the bewildered looks aren’t enough, everyone now thinks you are joking and starts to shove even more drinks in your face.
Since telling everyone at the table that you have the Zika virus is frowned upon, here are some ways for us sober folks to respond that are (slightly) more acceptable.
1. “La la la, I can’t hear you!”
Stop the negativity that’s going on from entering your head by simply shutting your ears. Do it in a way that prevents anyone else from asking a follow up question, because now THEY’RE the embarrassing ones.
2. “You blew it and now my Uber driver's pulling up.”
There’s nothing worse than being disrespected about bettering yourself. If they were that good of a friend they would respect your choice to be sober, and stop pushing the issue. If they don’t then pack a suitcase full of your sanity and hit the road.
3. “You’ve inspired me to take up choking you as my new hobby instead of drinking.”
That moment when your friend won’t shut up and you start sympathizing with Homer Simpson when Bart won’t stop talking… yeah, we’ve all been there.
4. “Ouch, that hurt so bad.”
So I’m not as fun unless I’m drinking? Here’s a recent shocking discovery for you! We don’t have to be friends! It’s amazing what a little bit of mental clarity will do for your social life. Bye, Felicia!
5. “My sincerest gratitude to you all...”
I just want to thank you all for being so understanding about my reasons to become sober. I can tell by your constant annoying questions and the obvious look of disbelief on your faces that you are really happy for me.
6. “You know what, you’re right. You should really be a counselor with all of this awesome advice you’re giving about how I can still be functional and drink.”
We all have that one friend how tries to help you balance your life so you can still party with them. Their heart might be in a good place, but they aren’t exactly all together themselves. Lucky for them, you can send them a list of referrals.
7. “There are only a few things that I can quit when I want…like this conversation for example.”
Just because someone else can be a weekend warrior when it comes to drinking doesn’t mean you can or should. Think of it this way: sobriety gives you a special gift to detect stupidity before it ever leaves a person’s mouth.
8. “That’s right. Now that I’m sober I’ll never be able to celebrate anything ever again.”
Why does everyone think that alcohol must be involved in EVERY celebration? Newsflash! You can have fun without being drunk! Try it sometime. It’s a crazy idea, but it’s possible to have a good time with fellow humans and even remember it the next day!
9. “Unfortunately, wine is also included in that whole sobriety thing I just told you about.”
When you tell someone that you’ve made the decision to become sober they always follow up with the “can you still drink wine or beer” question. When did wine stop being a considered alcohol by the drinking community? Do I have to start carrying around an informational chart on alcohol before going out now? Yikes!
10. “My family and I will probably just slug it out this Thanksgiving instead of drinking, but I appreciate your concern of how I will tolerate them.”
Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol does not make your family more tolerable. That's right, Uncle Joe isn't any better when he's slurring and Grandma Anne will still always ask you if you're going to ever get married.
We all have friends who think that sobriety is a fictional character in an afterschool special. And even though they may not be trying to hurt your feelings, it can definitely feel that way sometimes. Having a mutual respect for a difference in lifestyles can be difficult to manage, especially when the respect seems one-sided.
So next time you encounter one of these awkward situations and there isn’t a wall nearby to bang your head on, try any of the above to explain why you are choosing sobriety. You might teach them a thing or two, and if not, at least you'll be having the last laugh at their sad, boring party.
*Water glass clink!*