Advice,  Eat & Drink

40 Quick Responses to “Want a Drink?”

There are many reasons why one might not want to announce that they’re abstaining from alcohol when at a social gathering. You might not feel comfortable sharing, you might be newly sober and not even ready to admit it to yourself, or you don’t want to offend the host and deal with follow up questions. Whatever the reason is, sometimes it’s hard to come up with a good response to the question “want a beer?” or “let’s do shots!” so I came up with 40 quick and easy (and yes, some are ridiculous) replies.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
  1. I have to work in the morning
  2. Every time I drink I flirt with your boyfriend/girlfriend 
  3. Alcohol makes me too funny and you wouldn’t be able to handle it
  4. It’ll give me diarrhea 
  5. I can’t stop after just one so I’m not going to have that one
  6. I have to drive home 
  7. I have mild PTSD from the last time I drank 
  8. Booze doesn’t sit well with me nowadays
  9. I have to do something super important later tonight and so I have to have my wits about me
  10. I drank too much in my twenties so I’m not allowed to anymore 
  11. No thanks
  12. No thanks. The end.
  13. I woke up this morning suddenly hating the taste
  14. Me and alcohol are on a break
  15. I don’t feel like drinking tonight
  16. No I’m good
  17. I quit drinking 
  18. Doctor told me my tummy would stop buggin’ me if I kept the liquor outta there
  19. I just got the smell of puke outta my rug and I want to keep this streak alive
  20. I’m not in the mood to cry
  21. I’m on medication that doesn’t allow me to drink
  22. I’ve decided to cut out all poisons from my diet
  23. I just gave blood so I can’t or I’d feel too woozy
  24. I like your shirt/pants/thighs/bangs (this distraction technique only works if the drink offerer is drunk and only half listening to your response)
  25. *throw smoke bomb and run away*
  26. No but I’ll take a sandwich 
  27. I’m allergic
  28. I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing – I’m my own person 
  29. I can’t because when I drink I end up watching Three is Company reruns and it gets too dark from there
  30. I’m way nicer sober
  31. I’d prefer to avoid texting my ex at 3:30am in a fit of desperation 
  32. Liquor makes my clothes fall of and you DO NOT want to see what’s happening under there
  33. I’m on a toxin detox
  34. I’m way less dramatic sober 
  35. Alcohol is my gateway drug to poor choices
  36. NOPE
  37. I’m trying to piece my life back together after I messed it up with my alcoholism 
  38. I’ve had my limit for the night (contrary to how you might feel, most people don’t notice what you drink so this could work)
  39. I’m trying to drink more water and alcohol would sort of defeat the goal of hydration
  40. I can’t for medical reasons


  • Ian

    I really like this idea you have for the sober community. I myself have been sober my whole life, and I’ve never had a problem with peer pressure because I’ve always stood my ground and I’m stubborn. But a collection, a way to find places I could go check out without that pressure sounds like a relief nevertheless. I love your idea and I hope it balloons with success! I have family who could greatly benefit from your idea too and will share it over Facebook.
    Just as a side note, there’s some great raw music out there that has been fighting substance abuse since the 80’s called Straight Edge. Some of the music is better than the rest but it’s mostly a variant of Rock n Roll. And there are loads of celebrities who live this kind of lifestyle too. Google straight edge and open another door to life beyond booze.
    Best wishes xxx

  • Allan

    11, 12, 26, all good. 36 a bit too emphatic. 🙂 Obviously if the question is “would you like a drink?” and you really would, nothing wrong with “yes, I’d love a coke”. Or if the question is “do you want a beer?” nothing wrong with “no, a cold pepsi would sure hit the spot, though”.

    Over the decades (various periods of sobriety, and I am currently in one, have been for quite a while) I have obviously also been in dozens (hundreds) of situations where alcohol is available. It may be offered or it might be a “free for the taking” thing. Even if it’s not pressed upon you, you may get the “not drinking?” question, which requires the same tactics as “do you want a drink?”

    I have found (it didn’t happen overnight) that the best answer is No, or “No, I’d prefer such and such”. There are several problems with excuses. One, you need to keep track of them. What did I use with person such and such? Can I use it again? Dammit, I told his wife something else instead. Two, most of those excuses have loopholes, and you the recovering alcoholic can seize on that loophole.

    No is simple, and it’s true.

    Sometimes a bit of a zinger is a good addition. Answer with “No, I’m not thirsty”. I have used that and seen it visibly puzzle the drinker who asked. Because it never occurred to them that you’d drink only when thirsty.

  • Larissa

    You forgot – “when I drink I tend to break out… in handcuffs”, always makes people laugh.. 😉

    My sister sent me this link just now and I instantly dove in.

    I’m two months sober, and a recovering alcoholic/cocaine Addict. My boyfriend is almost 3 years sober and we’re in different phases of our recovery which can be difficult sometimes. He often wants to do things I’m just not ready for like go to shows, which used to be one of my favourite things to do in this city..but try to find a good band playing somewhere, where there isn’t alcohol being served.. not likely.

    Lately I’ve been feeling pretty disconnected from everything and everyone and am in search for some genuine sober friendship. I’ve lost all my “friends”, and hardly talk to anyone but my family, my kids, work friends, my boyfriend and AA/CA fellowship. (Which now that I write that seems like all I really need). Anyways, I am always looking for sober things to do so thank you for this!!

    Can’t wait to see what else you come up with!