Most of the time we can’t think of things to do when socializing besides going out to eat or grabbing drinks. When you are reinventing your life in recovery, this can make things very difficult. You are changing people, places, and things in order to remain sober and in recovery. Oftentimes, we try to fit into society’s images for what is a successful and productive human being means. This includes gaining employment and/or getting into an educational program. As human beings, we are social creatures. When we meet people in our new school or work settings, we want to make new friends. So, when we are asked to go out with these new people for drinks while we are in recovery, how can we still socialize with them?

Refusal Skills

By no means would we ever condone going to a bar or party with a lot of drinking when in early recovery, or when attempting to stay sober in general. The temptation can be too much. The thing is, alcohol is everywhere in our society today: Gas stations, movie theatres, fast-food establishments, concerts, get-togethers, and sports games.

So, what are some good refusal skills when we are surrounded by others who are drinking alcohol? Communication is not only verbal in its methodology. Non-verbal means are also important.

  • The first thing you should say is “No”. Hold your ground firmly and do not give the other person a chance to allow you to question your decision. There is no reason to feel bad for staying sober.
  • On the same note, stay firm on your response and do not hesitate with your answer. This is one time that it is okay to be impulsive. You already know what the consequences of saying “Yes” have been in the past for you. Though, practicing saying “No” when faced with difficult situations can be extremely helpful. Remember that assertive and aggressive communication is not one and the same.
  • Let the co-worker know that you would appreciate if they would stop asking you to go drink with them. You do not have to tell them you are an alcoholic if you do not want to. There are many reasons that people decide to not drink.
  • Looking someone in their eyes can help reinforce your seriousness regarding the matter.
  • Keep good posture. Hold your head high. This shows you are firm in your decision making and not silently questioning what you are saying out loud.
  • Bring up a different subject or come up with a different solution to going for drinks.

Alternative Suggestions to Going to a Bar

If you have some trouble saying “no” when you are around others who are drinking other ideas of hangouts could be helpful. Some sober places to hang out and things to do with acquaintances, co-workers, and friends include:How to Socialize With Your Co-Workers When You Don’t Drink

  • Coffee houses or eating without ordering alcoholic drinks
  • 12-step or support group meetings
  • Reading together
  • Shopping
  • Gyms or group fitness classes
  • Gardening
  • Cooking or baking
  • Parks
  • Zoos or aquariums
  • Movies or film festivals
  • Potlucks

There are so many options to try and see what you may enjoy now that you are sober!

A Great First Step to Sobriety

In Burns, Tennessee, an alternative rehab called Discovery Place exists. Enroll in our effective and unique rehab 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our amazing reviews reflect our success rate. Come see for yourself. Call us at 1-800-725-0922 today!


  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
  • I have remained sober and it is because of DP. DP is the best place there is, hands down. I keep everyone there in my prayers, and I encourage everyone there to take what they are practicing and do it in their lives, after.

    Roy Mantelli
  • Over the past year, I’ve been putting into actin what Discovery Place taught me, and I have experienced a complete perspective change of the world, and the people in it. I get to be a man of service and love today, and for that I am grateful to Discovery Place.

    Matt Kassay
  • Discovery Place means the world to me. They showed me the tools that I’ve tried to use everyday in my life to think less often of myself, and more frequently of others. I am learning to lend a hand when I am able and to have a honest and humble relationship with God and the people around me. Not only am I clean and sober, but also I am happy and fulfilled.

    Tommy Parker
  • Discovery Place and the men who work there made recovery attractive, and more importantly, fun. There is strength in the struggle. I am forever grateful for my time at Discovery Place.

    Creed McClellan
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it. I spent 6 months in their programs, participating in all three phases, and was met with kindness and love all along the way. It is unbelievable to me, where I am now relative to where I was when I arrived at DP.

    Lance Duke
  • I can never say enough good things about Discovery Place and the people who work there. Before checking in to DP, I was out of options and out of answers. Fortunately, Discovery Place has a solution. Taking suggestions from the staff at DP saved my life, and as a result, I’m now more content and hopeful about life. I’m grateful for Discovery Place showing me how to live a healthy life so that I can become a better man and help the next guy.”

    Tyler Buckingham

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