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The BEST way to tell people you're not drinking.

Updated: Jul 12

a woman sharing a secret with another woman

The question, “What do I tell my family? My friends?” often comes up when I speak with newly sober (or trying to be) women. I OBSESSED over this question when I first quit drinking. What people would think of me? What would happen if I told them I quit but then went back to drinking? What should I say??? Here are 3 thoughts on how to tell people you're not drinking ⬇️

Mum's the word, keep it brief, pick your people

Mum's the word

Say nothing. You don't owe ANYONE an explanation, my friend. And if they ask, use Melissa Urban's answer and say, “I'm not drinking right now.” PERIOD. END OF STORY.

Keep it brief

If you must give people a reason you're not drinking (and I always did), keep it brief. Better yet, have a pre-rehearsed reason memorized so that you're not caught off guard when people ask. This could sound like:

  • I'm taking the month off.

  • I have an early morning.

  • Wine has been making my sleep terrible and I need a good night's sleep tonight.

What is or isn't in your glass is no one's business and if they're bold enough to ask you why you're not drinking, you don't need to give them the whole story. Just enough to get them off your back.

Pick your people

Pick the people you can trust with your thoughts and feelings about choosing to stop drinking and SPILL IT. I chose to tell my immediate family (including my children) that I wasn't drinking for a month. That was the best I could do - and it helped keep me accountable that first month. I found an online community of people who understood and shared my experience and TOLD THEM EVERYTHING….that I wanted to quit forever, that I was terrified to quit forever, that I felt very alone, that I didn't know what to do…AND IT HELPED. When you get to the point that you want to quit drinking it takes up a lot of head space - IT'S ALL CONSUMING and you might want to talk about it A LOT. People (like my immediate family members) who aren't going through the same thing will not want to talk about it a lot. This is why it's important to pick your people (who get it) and spill it…often.


These are my thoughts, not a manual. You have to do what's best for you. Be private if you have to in the beginning, but I'd encourage you to open your mouth as soon as possible because that's what will make this new, scary, process a whole lot easier.

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