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Excuses 101

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

There comes a time in every non-drinker’s life when they must face a common, yet difficult, question. People are likely, at some time or another, to ask us why exactly we aren’t drinking. If we aren’t proudly boasting of our sobriety, it can be difficult to know how to handle these questions without a truckload of well-thought-out excuses.

I’ve been sober for long enough now that I’m not worried about telling people I’m a non-drinker. I know that no-one could pressure me into drinking again, no matter who they were. Being sober is such a big part of my life, and I’m not afraid of letting people know.

However, being a young person, I felt touchy and panicked when it came to talking about my sobriety in its early stages. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to confidently discuss my difficulties with drinking, especially not with people I wasn’t close to. I was worried that someone like Steve from the local pub could call me boring and I’d instantly cave under the peer pressure and start drinking again.

I told myself I didn’t care what other people thought, but my fear of judgement from others still caused me a lot of stress in early sobriety. We are social creatures after all, and it can feel scary to go against the norm.

There are an abundance of reasons you might not be ready to talk about your sobriety, and they are all equally valid. Whether you prefer your private life to be private or you’re scared of telling the truth, I’ve got your back. If you’re reading this and you’re worried about what excuse you’re going to make for going sober at the upcoming Christmas work do, fear not! I’ve compiled a list of excuses for not drinking, from the plausible to the weird, the light-hearted to the downright confusing.

The Classic

Why aren’t you drinking?

I’ve got work early in the morning, so not tonight!

The Driver

Why aren’t you drinking?

I can’t I’m driving.

The Medical

Why aren’t you drinking?

I’m on pretty strong antibiotics.

The Post-Bender

Why aren’t you drinking?

Ooof I couldn’t, I’m so hungover!

The Pre-drinker

Why aren’t you drinking?

I had too many before I came, I’m already wasted!

The Footballer

Why aren’t you drinking?

I only drink during the off season.

The Joker

Why aren’t you drinking?

I’ve started doing stand-up comedy so I’m not drinking for a while.

“Haha, you’re joking right?”


*Confused laughter*

The Underage

Why aren’t you drinking?

I’m 15.

The Question

Why aren’t you drinking?

Why aren’t you scuba diving?

The Grinner

Why aren’t you drinking?

I can’t I just had my teeth whitened.

The Boujee

Why aren’t you drinking?

They don’t serve Dom Perignon, so…

The Pedant

Why aren’t you drinking?

Actually, I am drinking. I think what you mean to ask is why aren’t I drinking alcohol.

The Truth

Why aren’t you drinking?

I had a debilitating drinking problem, so I don’t drink anymore.

The Werewolf

Why aren’t you drinking?

I only drink on a full moon.

The Jumpsuit

Why aren’t you drinking?

I can’t pee in this outfit.

The Surgeon

Why aren’t you drinking?

I’ve got to perform open heart surgery later, so I can’t. At least not after what happened last time.

The Wine Taster

Why aren’t you drinking?

Ugh, can we not talk about work on my day off.

Of course, it doesn’t matter exactly what you say. In any case, even if you have the perfect excuse, you can’t always know how the other person will respond.

All I’m saying is that, in my experience, having a ready-made answer to this awkward question makes these encounters infinitely more bearable.
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